Incognito

08 Aug, 2012

by Dasha Kelly

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“So, who’s going to read this? Where will it be published?”

I suppose this is what it’s like to talk with a spy or an undercover agent.

 

“Do you have to use my real name?”

Or a fugitive from the law.

 

“You’re not going to mention where I work, are you?”

Or, maybe, someone in witness protection.

 

“I just don’t like to have my business out there.”

 

As someone who has broadcast innumerable episodes of my personal life into print or a microphone, I was wholly intrigued by this Spy Agent Fugitive Mob Murder Witness.

“Are you baffled by people who aren’t as protective of their privacy?” I ask.

I didn’t expect him to hold judgments against those folks (ahem, me), but I did wonder whether he had a reflex of curiosities when he saw the unabashed and aggressively social in action.  I, for example, will invariably mutter “how,” “why” and “what tha-” if I witness a parent getting publicly sassed by their kid.  It’s such a foreign phenomenon to me (I didn’t, my sister didn’t, my parents didn’t, my aunts and uncles didn’t, my cousins didn’t, my children better not ever…), I’m sure my jaw still hangs open whenever I see such a spectacle.

But Spy Agent says he doesn’t have the same incredulous thoughts about the gregarious public types.

“Everyone has to do their own thing,” he says, leaning back in his chair. “Some people like to keep themselves out there.  Me, I don’t need to be seen.”

I will share that the Spy Agent Fugitive Mob Murder Witness works in an undisclosed location, for an unidentified global company, and is an alumni of an unnamed local university.  He has an unverified number of children and has been married for a generally significant number of years.

“I’m just a low-key type of guy,” he says with a sly smile.

I ask what brings him to the Pfister (I can only divulge that we were somewhere inside the property) and he explains that whenever he finds himself downtown with time to fill, he comes here to get work done .

“Actually, I go to a lot of places along Mason Street.”

Right. Of course.

“Have you always been like this? I ask.

He considers. “For the most part,” he says, “but it really kicked in after college.  I found it easier to maneuver through life this way.”

Spy Agent assured me there wasn’t a public scandal in his past or an egregious betrayal to set him on this course.  Rather, he determined the best way to minimize drama is to minimize his exposure to dramatic situations and people.

“The world is made up of folks who tend to be haters,” Spy Agent says. “They learn a little about you and then start concerning themselves with where you’ve been, what you’ve got, who you hang out with and all that. I don’t need that stress.”

He mentioned that his wife, conversely, is heavily involved in the community and a social network.  “Way more people know my wife,” he says.

I ask, then, how they balance their lives as Introvert and Extrovert. Spy Agent promptly corrects me.

“I’m not an introvert at all,” he says. “I’m extremely sociable.  People who know me, know all sides of me.  I’m not shy or any of that.”

“So what is it?” I ask.

“I want to do things when I want to, and I don’t always need people,” he says simply.  ”I’ve had people mistake that for arrogance or being antisocial.  Some have taken it personally.  I’ve even been called a few names. With the exception of my wife, I could go days without interaction.  I can’t help how other people see it. I only care about my peace of mind.”

I nod in slow deference, finally understanding Spy Agent’s perspective.  I, too, am social when I choose to be and unapologetic when I opt, instead, to bunker in my house. Spy Agent was overflowing with personality but, in equal measures,  determined to filter only the best of best-case scenarios into his personal time. I asked how he spends those pockets of undisturbed time.

“California.”

He says that and his wife became “winos” about two years ago and escape to a winery in Southern California every few months.

“Beautiful,” Spy Agent says. “The estate. The hills. The patio. Not a cloud in the sky. Not any kind of schedule. It’s the perfect getaway.  Completely laid back.  That’s what I’m about: being laid back.”

Got it.  I ended up having quite an engaging conversation with Spy Agent, once I’d gotten past his security screen.  As I begin to wrap up, I explain the hotel blog and Narrator program again, snap a faceless photo, get his follow-up information.

“Will I get to sign off on what you’ve written?”

“What if I don’t approve?”

“Take another photo. I don’t think my laptop should be open.”

“No names, right?”

Right.  You’ve got it absolutely right.

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About the author

Dasha Kelly

Dasha Kelly is founder and director of Still Waters Collective, a Milwaukee-based outreach initiative utilizing the transformative power of the written and spoken word. Dasha has performed and delivered workshops to writers, youth, educators, co-eds, executives, inmates and artists throughout the U.S. She is also an HBO Def Poetry alum. As a poet and novelist, Dasha’s writings have appeared in anthologies, text books, magazines and online. Her latest collection of work, Hershey Eats Peanuts is available through Penmanship Books. She is currently working on her second novel and a new collection of essays.

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