I gave a fake name to the barista at Starbuck’s, and I liked it!

I did not do this as a prank, or with a friend, I acted alone. I had no idea where this would lead me.

michael l. mizrahi blog Lying to the barista at starbucks

“tall dopeyo for Iggy!”

When I started, I don’t know why I did it? There’s always something in me that wants to be bad. Not hurt anyone bad, but to be or do something that people would not expect of me and get away with it. It’s so empowering! I wonder what Freud would say?

Lately I’ve gotten a little extra excitement in my day. I started giving the barista fake names to call when they made my coffee drink. I did not do this as a prank, or with a friend, I acted alone. I had no idea where this would lead me. At first, I told the barista, Spiderman, just to see if they’d call it, then a couple of Peter Parkers. It seemed to get a laugh, but the laughs didn’t do anything for me. It got interesting when I started to use ordinary names like Blake, Charlie and then Sam. I thought it was weird to use the same fake name twice, like I wanted to be some one else or I’m impersonating some one. I just wanted to feel gratuitously clever to myself. I did wonder if the barista from yesterday would remember my fake name today. Apparently I did not create that big of an impression. But the fact that I could give the same barista from yesterday a different fake name today gave my game a plus.

My story ends with the last impostering. I gave the name Sam and then unwittingly gave the barista my credit card with my real name on it. I panicked for a second as he grabbed my card, thinking he’d read the name that’s not Sam on the CC. What if he’s one of those good baristas that looks at the card for a signature? And he did. He paused, checked the name again, then to his credit, dismissed the thought and swiped the card. I knew he knew. My face turned red and warm. It was very exciting for a second there feeling completely vulnerable. I was so close to being outted for being me. I waited for my drink with a strange rush of blood feeling warming my chest, and a story to tell some friends later. I found telling the story to others helped me keep processing the conclusions I made.

I realize, it wasn’t only giving a fake name, but it was being called by my fake name that truly consumated the act. Being anonymous gave me the freedom to be me. I could think freely, absent of fear of judgement.

Fear is an imaginary wall I built in my head that feels real but isn’t, that blocks me from moving forward, that blocks me from being who I am suppose to be. Despite my fears of rejection, being alone and being abandoned, I found being vulnerable made people like me more than pretending to be someone I’m not. I have thousands of fears that lie to me in my own voice. I’ve been learning not to believe them, and to differenciate the true from the false. It’s a work in progress. It’s a lifelong job that ends about 5 minutes after I die.

Then the barista calls the name “Joey!”, and an Asian girl waves her hand and takes the drink. Yeah right, Joey! Who does she think she’s fooling!?

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