Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Telling lies at the Park Slope co-op

"So do you live on your own?"
This was awkward. I'd only met the girl five minutes ago and we'd been swapping the usual personal shorthand: where we lived, why Brooklyn was 'way more awesome than Manhattan', and why, on a Wednesday morning, we weren't in the office like proper grown-ups. I may have massaged the truth a little about my work situation (if I was that busy and successful would I really spend two hours of my day learning about shift rotations and the ethics of selling organic beer?) but it seemed a little early in our friendship to be out-and-out lying, especially since both of us were sober, and neither of us were crying. On the other hand I'd seen my new friend herself put through the ringer during the q&a.

"Does my roommate have to sign up too?"
"Yes. Every member of your household has to become a co-op worker member."
"Even if we don't share food?"
"You don't share food at all?"
"No, not really."
"Not really? Not even oil, or salt, or toilet paper?"
"Because if you do you both have to join. Otherwise it's not fair. It'd be like we [wide arm sweep] were subsidising her food. And toilet paper." This was clearly a heinous co-op crime.

I'd already decided to pretend I lived on my own. The boyfriend could always come shop as my guest, and after all, we weren't made of money. But it's one thing lying to a not-for-profit community enterprise, and quite another telling fairly structural untruths to a potential new friend. In the long run it would be would be pretty hard to hide Chris. Admittedly, he might sometimes got left out of the conversation when I met a particularly beautiful man, but I usually fell pretty quickly into the smug-married "we" trap. And he did pay the rent.

"So do you have a roommate?" The girl was waiting for me to reply, but we were at the front of the queue, right next to the school-marmish administrator.
"Ermm... no. Just me. On my own. For now, I mean, until we, erm, I see how the money goes."
With that I stepped forward with my registration form, and fraudulently joined the Park Slope Co-op with a big fat smile and a terrible weight of bad karma.

Really, she should have known better than to put me on the spot like that. I'm not sure she and I are going to work out.

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