I gave a false name in Starbucks

This piece discusses one of the great ethical dilemmas of our day. For the avoidance of doubt, it is a work of pure fiction.

I gave a false name in Starbucks.
It was so easy the first time.
No guilt. A victimless crime.
It was like trying on a new set of clothes.
Is this my emotional colour?
Why do I feel so different?
Does my ego look fat in this?

I gave a false name in Starbucks.
By the fourth time, I realised that the clothes were not new, but borrowed.
When I said my name was Gordon, I was taller and had fair hair.
Patrick, and I spoke with a drawl.
Joel, and I was a child again.
Arthur, and I was my grandfather.
Every name a connection, a memory, a dream.

I gave a false name in Starbucks.
Another customer called out, “I’m Sebastian too.”
Later that week, Sebastian saw me in the street and greeted me.
But I could not help borrowing more names.
Pedro, I’m sorry I used your accent.
Benoit, Werner, Istvan, yes, those were risky.
Julie.
What an interesting conversation.
I gained new insights, and in my mind’s eye, a fabulous body.

I gave a false name in Starbucks.
I looked across to where a man sat alone.
He smiled when the barrista called out to him.
And I saw the truth: that was the first time he had heard his name that day.
And when the barrista called out to me
He would hear it for the second time.
But I would not hear it.
I would be out in the nameless crowds,
Nothing to borrow, nothing to steal,
No need for identity,
A place to truly have no name.

Posted by banting_wp