Sunday, 27 March 2011

On faking identity

Last night my girlfriend, Vicky, had plans to go out to a gig. Some Austrian magazine's birthday party shindig featuring a bunch of DJs and bands in one location. It didn't appeal to me and I certainly didn't want to shell out the €15 for a ticket to see a bunch of shit bands and disc spinners. If I did go I would simply have to drink lots of booze, which would mean more needless expense. Vicky insisted I go though and when she offered to pay my entrance fee I figured what the hell and tagged along, quickly downing a couple of drinks as we left to get me in the mood.

Our plan was to meet a couple of friends of hers, all with pre-bought tickets, and then hope I could pick one up outside the venue.

During the journey, I managed to destroy the zip on my fly meaning I would face the night with a gaping hole there. Classy. That put me in a bad mood before we'd even arrived but whilst Vicky was fruitlessly attempting to pin my flaps together in a public bathroom, her friend burst in with some good news. She'd been asking passers by if they had tickets to spare but had found a better, cheaper solution. One girl she asked knew a name on the guest list - one Erwin Uhrmann - so we decided I'd pretend to be him and Vicky would sell her own ticket and come along as my guest. It didn't matter that none of us had any idea who he really was.

I was a little apprehensive as it was clearly not an English name and my German skills were far from good enough to successfully imitate a native speaker. especially not when a little tipsy, so we agreed Vicky would accompany me to the guestlist booth and do the talking whilst I stood with her and tried to avoid having to talk.

So from my point of view as an ignorant English bystander here's what happened: We go over and Vicky explains in German that we're the two people arriving under Erwin Uhrmann's name. The girl in the booth (whom it turns out is a friend of a friend of Vicky's) gets a little excited and replies, then looks up at me, saying something else in German. Vicky nudges me, smiles and gives me a less than subtle head nod which I understand I should imitate. I simply nod and say, "Ja." The girl say something else I don't catch. I elaborate with an "OK" on top of my "Ja". We get our wristbands and we walk away, the girl all the time gazing at me with some kind of adoration.

I then asked Vicky what just happened: When Vicky had initially mentioned 'my' name the girl had exclaimed, "You know Erwin Uhrmann?!" to which Vicky had casually replied, "Sure, I'm his guest tonight," and gestured toward me. The girl had then mentioned something about all the great books I had written and gone into detail about how one was sitting on her bedside table right now. That was when my "OK, ja," came in. Clearly I am not impressed by her admiration.

A little later, the friends we'd arrived with had gone over to their friend, ticket booth girl, and she had exclaimed to them how impressed she was that Vicky knew one of her heroes.

She also called a friend and said, "I just saw Vicky with Erwin Uhrmann! Did she break up with the English guy?!"

Of course we Googled this chap when we got home and bizarrely it turns out he was born in the same year as me, and also sports a scruffy beard and generic man hair. We also wear the same glasses.

I should apologise now. Erwin, if you're reading this for some reason, I probably didn't do you any favours in the personality department but thanks for lending me your identity - you have at least one avid fan out there. Next time I pretend to be you I assure you I'll be more charming. And I'll fasten my pants.

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