March 9, 2020
EP. 206 — My Girlfriend Cheated, I Got A Dog
An extremely optimistic guy calls in to talk about how he got over his cheating ex by getting a dog, living in a tiny house, hopping freight trains and more. Plus, Chris shares what he’s learned on the cusp of turning forty.
206 — My Girlfriend Cheated, I Got A Dog
[00:00:05] CHRIS: Hello to everybody playing a harmonica with their nose. It’s Beautiful
Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:00:18] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to
know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:28] CHRIS: Hi everybody, Chris Gethard here, it’s Beautiful Anonymous. Thank you for listening. Thank you for subscribing, supporting the show. In this episode, you’re about to hear, I love it. I love it. It’s got three topics, and all of them I found fascinating. One, a lot of people are going to flip out because this guy’s the owner of an influencer dog. And I know so many people who listen to this show love dogs. You’re going to love hearing about this dog. I’m sure many people are going to go track down this dog. Don’t tell me about it because anonymous is in the name of this show. So don’t. You need to go see the influencer dog, don’t out this guy, to me or anybody else. Respect the show.
[00:01:05] CHRIS: A lot of what we talked about, pretty fascinating topic. What’s it like to have a relationship fall apart due to infidelity? That’s just such a human thing, such a human topic. And we really get into it. And then last but not least, comes up at the end and I want to call this out. Sorry for the spoiler. He talks about how he used to ride the rails. He used to hop freight trains. And that’s something that’s always fascinated me. And I just want to say, if you’re out there and you’re a rail rider, and you’ve lived that lifestyle too, I would love to have a full hour. I rarely just go fishing for actual full hour topics. But if you are someone who has lived that classic riding the rails, dare I say hobo lifestyle? You will hear how excited I get when it comes up in this call, and I’d love to talk more about it. with anybody else out there. Anyway, this call’s got a lot going for it. Charming, nice guy with a lot to say. Enjoy it.
[00:02:02] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:02:09] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:02:11] CALLER: No way. Is this- I got to say it, I got to say it. Is this Chris?
[00:02:16] CHRIS: What if I said no? What if I was like, “no, it’s not.” How would you react?
[00:02:22] CALLER: Ha, I would be, I’m so shocked that I made it through. How are you, man?
[00:02:29] CHRIS: How am I? I would say I’m dancing on the precipice of a major depressive episode, as a doctor recently told me. But, by and large, good. Outside of that, I’m fine. I’m fine. You know me, rolling with the punches of life, wondering what the point is, but also enjoying myself. How are you?
[00:02:48] CALLER: I can, yeah, I can relate to that. This has been a very bizarre last couple of weeks, and I’m still kind of reeling from all of it. I can’t say I’ve been heading into a depressive episode soon, so I’m sorry to hear that. I will say I’ve been following your Twitter, and the amount of really- just seems like you have such an exciting life. At least via Twitter. There’s so much going on between the cable access and L.A., man. I mean, if there’s ever been a time that it sounds like your career is kind of exploding, this is it.
[00:03:35] CHRIS: Wow. I’m amazed that’s your perception from the outside because I am filled with constant daily fear that my career is slowing down more than it ever has in the same year that my son has come to life. But I’m happy to hear from the outside it looks good. That’s reassuring. Thank you for that.
[00:03:54] CALLER: Chris, I will say you have an incredible ability to hold space for people to do really big things. And I feel like that cable access show might be one of the ways that you’re able to do that. And that’s a really exciting kind of thing, even if it is just cable access. It’s not worth being down about.
[00:04:17] CHRIS: Oh no, it’s really- you’re talking, of course, about Chris Gethard Presents on New York Public Access.
[00:04:25] CALLER: Yeah, yeah.
[00:04:26] CHRIS: I’m very proud of it. I feel like a lot of comedians get to go out there
and shine and do their things, so i’m really proud of it, and thank you for plugging it. Yeah, thanks.
[00:04:34] CALLER: It is wild man, it is fun. It has been fun to watch it.
[00:04:37] CHRIS: That’s good. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. We’re doing some cool stuff, everybody. Check it out. Now, we’ve made it about me. I’ve been able to mope for a solid two minutes. You said you’ve had a crazy couple weeks. I want to hear about this.
[00:04:51] CALLER: Chris, it’s been nuts. So I had a rough last couple of years, and one of the reasons that that had happened was I started dating this woman, and this woman about three years ago, she actually started to cheat on me, and didn’t tell me about it. And almost two years went by, and I found out after two years. It’s completely flipped my world upside down so I ended up in a really just kind of brutal year, had a really emotionally rough year, and ended up in therapy. And it was probably the most helpful catalyst I could have ever imagined to get back on things. And ever since January, there’s been this whole kind of series of events that have led up to what feels like this phone call with you to be honest. I just can’t believe I’m on here right now. And things have just kind of been on the upswing. So recently, I have a dog and this dog is a very good boy. I know you’ve debated about potentially getting an animal, and you better believe I’m in the same camp as your lady. Let’s get you a dog. And my dog ended up getting me a little bit Instagram famous and then it became local famous. And now he’s getting a little bit of national attention. And this dog, I mean he’s a really good dog. But over the last couple of weeks, there have been these different venues that have reached out to us about abilities that he has of jumping over stuff and doing kind of urban parkour. And that’s just completely taken over my last two weeks is trying to act as the yeah, ad and sales guy by the agent for this four legged furry dog who has no idea what’s going on while he eats snacks and dog farts on my feet.
[00:07:00] CHRIS: So you’ve been having a rough patch of it. Now you’ve got a celebrity dog. Now when you say sales guy and agent, I’m not sure how much you’re being hyperbolic, or are you already making money off this dog?
[00:07:11] CALLER: No, not yet. I’d love to. I just think it’s such a ridiculous thing, like I’ve done almost nothing except for put up some posts and then people share it and it slowly gets bigger. So I’m thinking in the next little while, like the next twelve months, it’s not going to be unreasonable to start tagging them and bagging them for some ads on these social media venues.
[00:07:34] CHRIS: Yeah, baby.
[00:07:35] CALLER: Get us some free dog food, baby.
[00:07:37] CHRIS: Influencer. So, and what happens? So you put something up on Instagram, it starts to spread. Then what, does it start to show up on like Reddit and things like that? I know that’s a site where a meme is known to pop off from time to time.
[00:07:50] CALLER: We did have something on Reddit. We’re talking like the local newspaper had picked it up, which was kind of a mindblow. And then from there, another bigger city in the area started to pick the info up. And then from there, a large national magazine has approached us about doing a piece on him. It’s really strange, man. And of all the venues that you think you would, you know, be celebrated for or like feel like you have worked really hard on, I have a great relationship with that dog and we’ve worked really hard together, but that is not at all where I thought so much positivity would come from. So, it’s been interesting to share that and explore that with a little mute, old dog. A mellow, quiet little animal.
[00:08:40] CHRIS: Wow, and is it-
[00:08:44] CALLER: Very strange
[00:08:45] CHRIS: Is it to the point where, like when you walk down the street with the dog now, do people know the dog?
[00:08:50] CALLER: Yes! It’s so strange. [Muffled talking]
[00:08:57] CHRIS: And wait, hold on one second, because sometimes you’re speaking and it’s totally clear, and sometimes [imitates muffle sound] like this. So if there’s a place you can go that avoids that and just make less people feel like they’re hallucinating during the course of this call.
[00:09:13] CALLER: [Laughs] I don’t want to trip anyone out unnecessarily. I mean, I’m covered up and I’m sitting in my car, so I’ve left my home and now I’m sitting in the car.
[00:09:24] CHRIS: OK.
[00:09:25] CALLER: I hope this works.
[00:09:26] CHRIS: All right. I’ll just let you know. So you’re saying you’re in a university town and people know the dog already?
[00:09:33] CALLER: Yes. I used to live in a university town, and then we moved to the biggest city that was nearby. And people recognize the dog, they’ll yell at him from across the street. I had one girl run up on us and she just, you know, was so excited to meet him. She asked me, “Does he shake?” and I said “Yes, he does shake.” So I had him sit and she reached out and shook his hand as though he was like, you know, a famous person. She shook his hand and said, “Oh, it’s so nice to meet you.” And I was just looking like at him like [muffled]
[00:10:10] CHRIS: Okay, wait, we have to pause. Your connection is getting worse. Your connection is getting worse and worse. And I got to hear about this celebrity dog.
[00:10:17] CALLER: Gosh, i’m not sure what else to do. It looks like I have full bars, and you guys are coming in pretty clear.
[00:10:24] CHRIS: Are you on like headphones or something?
[00:10:27] CALLER: No, no, no, no, not at all. I have the phone right up to my head. I wonder, I don’t know if I could drive anywhere. I’m actually right next to the cell phone tower. Does it still sound terrible?
[00:10:43] CHRIS: [Laughs] Hold on, Jarod’s typing some stuff out. He’s asking if you can change how the phone is oriented to your face.
[00:10:52] CALLER: I could try speaker, does this sound better?
[00:10:56] CHRIS: Keep talking a little bit, we’ll sort this bad boy out.
[00:11:00] CALLER: Yeah, so got this celebrity dog and he’s just been kind of leading the way. He actually- I just tell people he takes me on walks now.
[00:11:10] CHRIS: Okay, I think it sounds better for now. I’ll let you know if we have more issues. Sorry to cut you off like that. I just want to hear about this celebrity dog situation.
[00:11:20] CALLER: You’re good, you’re good. I appreciate that.
[00:11:24] CHRIS: All right, Jarod’s typing. Yeah, I think we’ll go with this. Jarod’s saying if you have wired headphones without a mike, that’s- But I think this sounds good. I think we’re good for now. We’ll see. Okay, so to get back, so when you are someone who has been cheated on, it’s traumatic, it went on for years. I’m sure that this puts you in a place where you’re maybe not out and about, and then you have ladies stopping you to shake your dog’s hand. Is there any part of you that’s like man, this dog is going to bring me back into the dating scene, man.
[00:12:11] CALLER: Truly, truly he’s been the catalyst for some pretty amazing things as well. Now I live- I’m going to give myself away a little bit. I do live in a very mountainous state, so there’s only so many options. So one of the things that I started doing after the experience with this partner was I just needed to get out of the house and move my body. And I always loved climbing mountains. So where I live, there’s a ton of them. And what I started trying to do was climb all of the highest ones. So I’ll just say it, I’m in Colorado, and in Colorado we have what’s called thirteeners and fourteeners. And thirteeners are mountains between 13,000 and 13,999 and fourteeners are mountains that are over 14,000 feet. And so I started climbing these peaks, and my dog and I climbed all of the fourteeners. There are 58 of them, and he was able to do 50.
[00:13:18] CHRIS: [Laughing]
[00:13:19] CALLER: So I always wanted to just kind of go on these big adventures with him, but being able to bring him along was so cathartic. And it helped me pace and be a lot more mindful about, you know, which route I was choosing and if the choices I was making were smart or healthy, or if they were going to be too dangerous for him to navigate around. And now we’re working on climbing all of the 13,000 foot peaks in the state and just, you know, we start to get a little older.
[00:13:49] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:13:50] CALLER: Chris, and we start to slow down.
[00:13:51] CHRIS: And he’s a little bit more of a diva. The fame might be going to his head, who knows?
[00:13:58] CALLER: That’s true, that’s true. I actually never considered that maybe he’s like, man, this guy is getting old. I got to slow down for his ass.
[00:14:06] CHRIS: Where he’s like, maybe you should carry me up the mountain, dude. I’m the star here. Pamper me.
[00:14:15] CALLER: [Laughs] I like that idea. I would not be opposed to it. You know, if he fakes like a foot injury, I would sling him over my shoulders faster than a scarf.
[00:14:25] CHRIS: Now sometimes when I sort of sum things up in a sentence, it really tickles me. And I’m not saying that what you went through tickles me, but the idea that you’re basically saying you were cheated on for two years, it was traumatic. And the way you’ve bounced back is you climbed fifty mountains with your dog. That’s pretty cool. That’s a pretty cool way to sum it up.
[00:14:52] CALLER: Thanks, man. Yeah, I guess it’s kind of a crazy thing to share. Yeah, it’s been amazing. It’s been a really amazing- And if it wasn’t for, you know, this dog, I felt like, you know, he’s a breed where if you don’t run them and you don’t work them constantly- I know there was a prior caller that was making a pitch to you, I believe it was like they were throwing out a dog breed, like Weimaraner maybe, or maybe it was like Greyhounds. And they had described it as that breed being kind of like a cat, like pretty chill.
[00:15:30] CHRIS: Yes. Greyhounds were recommended to me, yeah.
[00:15:34] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. This dog is the opposite. Like not chill, it doesn’t necessarily hang around. So I got to take him out for a solid four to eight miles a day.
[00:15:45] CHRIS: Now, what kind of dog is that? Because I don’t want that dog. What kind of dog do you have to walk eight miles a day with a dog?
[00:15:52] CALLER: You don’t want this dog, you don’t want this dog, man. He is a Blue Heeler and Collie mix. So they’ve got the old herding tendencies, you know, like he loves to nip and run, and small bursts of energy. So it’s really great for the mountains. And that was a way for us to get up there and really explore deep in the mountains, and with a little four legged partner who could actually keep up and give me a run for my money as well.
[00:16:24] CHRIS: So I’ve never heard of a Blue Heeler. My mother in law had a Border Collie and this dog, it needed a lot. Like you said, but it’s also super smart and is pretty cool. So it’s just, you’re walking up the mountain and if like a bunch of rocks skitter, does it go and try to like push all the rocks into one corner and then stare at them to make sure they don’t move again?
[00:16:42] CALLER: [Laughs] He definitely lets me know whenever there’s something that he can’t get up, which has always been interesting, like he’s got a pretty bizarrely large vocabulary of different words that he knows. So when we’re up in the mountains, it’s kind of at the point where I can stay “up” or “stay” or “cliffs” or “lock” and all of those mean different things in different contexts. So we’ll be climbing up some really intense wall, kind of a head wall with a series of cliffs that are about as tall as like, you know, a person 5’6 to 6′. So I got to get him up on a ledge and then I got to crawl up myself to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere, he doesn’t do anything, he’s not going to leap off the edge or roll any rocks or chase after any mountain goats. And so the two of us will kind of slowly work our way up over, you know, these different obstacles. And he’s just really been pretty amazing to work with because it’s my first dog, and my only dog. I never had any pets growing up. So it felt like this really kind of intimate, intense experience while we’ve been exploring these places together.
[00:17:44] CHRIS: Now, hold on- oh, no. You finish your thought. Finish your thought.
[00:17:49] CALLER: Oh yeah, I just wanted to be one more vote for a Greyhound for you. I think that would be a really amazing dog for your fam.
[00:18:01] CHRIS: Who knows.
[00:18:04] CALLER: Gonna jump on the dog pile. And say, you know, maybe, maybe it’s
worth looking at.
[00:18:04] CHRIS: Jump on the dog pile. Well done with the pun, sir. Listen, so you had told me you were going up these mountains with dogs. And in my mind, I’m thinking that this must mean that these are mountains that have like paths where you can just sort of grab a hiking stick and go up to the peak with your dog, like there’s pre-established trails. From what you just described about all these commands and running into loose mountain goats and cliffs, this sounds more like you’re actually climbing mountains like in that Colorado way.
[00:18:35] CALLER: Totally. It’s totally that. There’s a lot of mountains that are much easier as far as, you know, you just have some hiking poles and there are beautiful rolling meadows of grasses. But there’s a lot you know, there’s a point where you get over 100 mountains and those things just feel so boring after a while. Like you just want anything to scramble over, or a cliff to look off of, or some wind pick up and kind of anything to happen up there. So the more exciting adventures that we look forward to now are the mountains
that are definitely a little more serious. And there’s a point where you just can’t take a dog on some roots, and it’s just too scary. But I think for the most part, he’s able to handle it.
[00:19:20] CHRIS: So you’re out there, and it’s like you’re doing Free Solo with your dog. It’s like Free Solo with the dog.
[00:19:27] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, oh, man. Oh my gosh. There’s some dogs, and I know in the state that there is one dog who recently did all of the fourteeners, and there’s eight that I mean, you gotta rope your dog up and you got to drag him up the side of a couple of drops that are pretty severe.
[00:19:44] CHRIS: You’ve done that?
[00:19:46] CALLER: And I noticed dogs out there that have done that. My dog has
not done that. This is not the Alex Honnold of mountain climbing, of dogs.
[00:19:54] CHRIS: That movie, I’ve always- heights are not my thing. They never have been. And whenever I’ve seen a movie, like when you see like these Mission Impossibles, and Tom Cruise is scaling that building in Dubai, and then they have these overhead shots. And you know, this lunatic actually did it. And he’s actually out there on the side of this building. I’m filled with like, I don’t- I just start like grabbing my armrests and I want to crawl out of my skin. My wife saw Free Solo, she told me how amazing it was. And then she told me what it was about. I just can’t watch this guy fall off the side of a mountain, and it’ll be just two hours of me being tense. But you know what I did? I was on a flight cross country, and I saw they had it on there and I was like, that’s the way I can watch Free Solo- on a tiny, awful plane, airplane screen. Because that way it won’t have that like HD in-the-theater effect. It’ll just be this-
[00:20:49] CALLER: They take out the 3D, and they got you sweating bullets just enough.
[00:20:52] CHRIS: And the sound system making it all intense. I’m like, no, I’ll watch it on a four inch across plain screen. That way I can get the story, see what it’s about, but I won’t have that effect, that vertigo effect. It was ideal for me. There’s people who strap their dogs into harnesses and hoist them up the side of a mountain? There’s people who do that?
[00:21:11] CALLER: Oh, yeah. And they’re far crazier than- wait, so did you end up seeing Free Solo on the airplane?
[00:21:17] CHRIS: I did, I watched Free Solo on an airplane, and it was great. But I was so happy that I didn’t have to sit there- and I was still like sweating through my clothes with fear, but it wasn’t the same as when you’re in one of these IMAX things and you feel like you’re going to slide down the front of a mountain just because this guy decides he can’t use a harness like a reasonable human being.
[00:21:39] CALLER: I will say when I saw it, there was only two other people in the theater, and one of them was sitting right next to me, and it was the person I was seeing. And the other person was about five rows back, and at the point where he gets to the boulder problem, and you know what I’m talking about because that’s where he does that little leap in the middle of the wall. That’s super, super precarious.
[00:22:04] CHRIS: Yes!
[00:22:01] CALLER: He’d never done it before, and all these things. The guy behind us, I realize he’s not only out of his seat, but he’s heavily pacing back and forth, rubbing his hands together. So in the darkness of the theater, we kind of turned around. We just saw this guy having a tiny meltdown, about four rows back, taking it all in.
[00:22:22] CHRIS: Yeah, It’s too much.
[0022:24] CALLER: Completely melting down watching.
[00:22:26] CHRIS: That movie, Free Solo, it showed every fundamental difference between my wife and I. It just exposed every single difference. I watched this- she watches this movie. She comes home, she’s like, it’s this inspiring tale of this guy tapping into everything within the human spirit to overcome mental and physical obstacles. She’s all inspired. I came home, I’m like, this selfish asshole. He’s got something to prove, so he’s got to go up a thing, and now everybody who’s trying to just enjoy their day in the national park might have to watch this guy just eat it and die because he needs attention. Every aspect of our differences in life were exposed.
[00:23:10] CALLER: Man, was there anything that surprised you about, like when she came back and described it? That you were like, what are you even talking like? Do we even see the same film?
[00:23:18] CHRIS: Well, she saw it first, she saw it first. I had heard her, she was loving it. She was really gushing about it, and I understand why. But also, my wife, you know, her job- you know, she’s badass. She was a professional aerialist for many years. Like she was effectively like a professional athlete, an acrobat who expressed it through dance. So she’s like, that was her job to fly down from the sky in a giant warehouse space and like do back-flips in front of people as part of these crazy experimental shows. So that’s her life and that’s her mentality. And me, I stay firmly planted on the ground in all areas of life. I don’t take many physical risks. I’m more the type of person to take a severe emotional risk
publicly and then sit in the aftermath of that for years. That’s me. But I’ll stay on the ground while I emotionally destroy myself for public consumption, thank you very much.
[00:24:17] CHRIS: And what a good time to pause for an ad break, because I think if you’ve listened to this show even in passing, I think you’d agree, I just summed myself up pretty well. I’m a guy who likes to stay firmly planted on the ground while I emotionally destroy myself. That should be on my tombstone, ladies and gents. Anyways, check out the ads. We’ll be right back.
[00:24:42] CHRIS: Thanks so much to all of our advertisers. Now, let’s get back to the conversation.
[00:24:48] CHRIS: That’s me. But I’ll stay on the ground while I emotionally destroy myself for public consumption. Thank you very much. Now, can I ask you some hard-
[00:25:00] CALLER: That is a substantial difference. There’s a big difference.
[00:25:03] CHRIS: Yes. Now we’re 20 minutes in. We’ve talked a lot about your dog, celebrity dog. I want to hear more about that, dog parkour, climbing mountains. I do want to ask if it’s okay, all of this seems to be rooted in this relationship that I have to imagine, when you’re dating someone, you said you dated for three years and found out that for two of those years she’d been cheating. I do want to hear a little bit about that experience cause I would imagine that that’s got to fundamentally sort of shift your relationship with the world and how you trust people and all sorts of stuff like that.
[00:25:41] CALLER: Yes, yeah. It was truly mind blowing. One of the most helpful things in therapy that we had done was my therapist, who is wonderful, and y’all, if you haven’t gone to therapy yet, you don’t need a reason. Just go. It’s incredible. If you’re in a place where that can happen. A PSA for therapy is amazing. But the most helpful activity that she had me do was write out a giant, a huge piece of paper and write out a timeline of all the things that I thought had happened based on the lies that I was told. And then we kind of walked back through the last two years, and a lot of significant events and what was actually happening or lies that I was told. And I think the most staggering piece of it was the web of lies that my partner, or my ex-partner had created. It was really so elaborate. One example was to not go on a date or see me one weekend, she made up an excuse that her grandpa had died, and that she had to go to this military funeral for him. Now, I’ll say there’s only a handful of places where you can be buried at a military grave-site. And they’re, you know, certain spots around the country. And one of them is, I don’t believe in Colorado and certainly not in the small town that she had mentioned. And instead of just telling me what was going on, instead, I made this whole dinner and got all dressed up and we had all these plans, and just very much ended up just getting completely ghosted and then getting a text about five hours later saying, “Hey, my grandpa died and I’m with the family.” And she gave me all these details that were so hyper-specific. It was things like, you know, how her mom looked at the funeral, what food they ate. And it turns out that none of that had happened at all. And she was actually out on a date with somebody from like a dating app that evening in town about two miles away from me while that was happening. And she continued to string me along.
[00:28:04] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:28:01] CALLER: It really has shifted how I’ve dated and how I’ve interacted with people and how I felt about myself within a relationship dynamic. It’s been really bizarre and really deep, the levels at which I have gone to kind of rebuild myself and rebuild my identity, and kind of decide very specifically what I do and do not want in a relationship.
[00:28:32] CHRIS: So she- it sounds like- so it’s not like she was, like having an affair with one other person. This was a habitual-
[00:28:42] CALLER: Oh, it was many.
[00:28:45] CHRIS: Oh wow.
[00:28:44] CALLER: Yeah, it was many. I believe the final count that she told me was over 20 people. So it’s not even like- it was almost like she was maybe addicted to the thrill of being with new people, but wanted the safety of, you know, having that emotional support with me. And I was just so deeply in love with this person that it was, I just would’ve, you
know, I would have believed anything she told me and in a lot of ways I did. I just kind of, you know, and I’m very much somebody who thrives one on one and feels my strongest in a monogamous relationship. And it was very clear after all that, that those are not things that that person values. And it’s something that I really ended up doubling down on and feeling really more serious about. As far as, you know, I really need those things, I need monogamy and need honesty, need communication. And, you know, of course, those are the things that are on any list. But now I know that in a way that, you know, it’s not just words, it’s a true need and a requirement for me to be comfortable in a relationship.
[00:29:51] CHRIS: How did you find out? How did all finally come to light?
[00:29:55] CALLER: Oh, that was a dirty story. That was a bad- that was just an unfortunate situation. So I had several friends that were on different dating apps, and I got a couple of screenshots over the course of a couple of days where she actually ended up messaging with one of the people that I’m friends with. And the messages were very forward, we’ll put it that way, from her end of wanting to meet up and wanting to hang out. And she didn’t know that he was one of my friends. So he sent me some screenshots and I kind of started to put things together, and it all came to a head and blew up.
[00:30:33] CHRIS: Wow, so she’s on there, it’s her picture on apps, she’s in the local area. She’s not going far. So- wow. And then she finally encounters a friend and your friend sees the picture and is like, what the hell is this? I know this person.
[00:30:48] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. All of that. It was pretty mind blowing. So I think that the trauma of just starting to realize how many of these really elaborate lies were not true, and walking through the last two years, just with this completely different light. It was, you know, so that original activity I was telling you about as far as like putting up a timeline of what I thought was true and a timeline of what was objectively, like empirically in the world, what was happening was just such a paradigm shift. Well, it was like all of these things that I had been convinced were real, were not real. And all these things that I’ve been convinced were not real were real. And so many things had flipped upside down that I just, I mean, I just was a mess for a solid year after that. Living alone was not helpful. I was really glad to kind of move out of that situation and try out something new.
[00:31:47] CHRIS: I bet.
[00:31:47] CALLER: And actually, you know, what I did was I finally, about nine months later decided that I’d always wanted to try living in a tiny home/ maybe a van/ maybe
a camper. And so after this healing had begun, I sold everything I owned for the second time in my life. And I moved into a tiny camper on the back of a gigantic, gigantic
[00:32:16] CHRIS: That is a strikingly Colorado way to deal with this. A very Colorado way to deal with your situation.
[00:32:24] CALLER: And can I tell you, Chris, don’t do it.
[00:32:28] CHRIS: [Laughs]
[00:32:29] CALLER: It was the fucking worst. I hated it. Man, it was bad, I hated it. I had no space. My dog had no space. I like to do art, couldn’t do art. I like to do yoga, couldn’t do yoga. I like to be warm, couldn’t warm up. And I’m about as mechanical as a pickle. So like when stuff broke, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was just terrible. It was a long, dark, cold ass six, no, seven months.
[00:33:05] CHRIS: So for anybody out there who has this vision of living like the Alexander
Supertramp, Into The Wild life, you’re saying thumbs down, one star-
[00:33:17] CALLER: Instagram is just marketing. Just remember, that’s all a dirty lie. You’re still pooping in a bucket every morning.
[00:33:22] CHRIS: [Laughs] How long were you living in a camper, pooping in a bucket?
[00:33:27] CALLER: Seven months. And let me also add the caveat, my dumb ass ended up getting into this camper situation with like the tail end of some depression, but also early winter, like we’re talking in Colorado. Yeah. And like, you know, I’m in the largest city, so go figure, we don’t get nearly as much snow as the mountains do. But, man, it gets cold. It’s cold here in the winter. And I had a battery die on the third night. And boy, I tell you, I couldn’t buy enough propane. There wasn’t enough propane to heat me up in the world that night. It was me and my dog spooning under a layer of synthetic sleeping bags, just looking deep into each other’s eyes and whispering, why? Why?
[00:34:20] CHRIS: Well, i’m glad we’re laughing about it now, but that- so three days into this effort to live this romantic off the grid life, to heal your wounds, heal your heartbreak. Three nights in, you’re like cuddling with your dog going, oh no.
[00:34:36] CALLER: Oh, man. And I was like, actually staying right outside of the place where I used to live because it’s on a road that’s pretty industrial. So there’s warehouses and there was other, they’re called boondockers, so people who are in town, not paying for resources, living out of their camper. There was other camper livers and van dwellers on the street. And I remember thinking like, well, that will be an easy segway because I’m familiar with the area. It sucks, it was the worst. And we were just freezing, freezing, freezing. And even on the nice days, man, I’ll tell ya, it’s just not a comfortable lifestyle. It gives you a lot of access to drive around, travel and you know, have your home with you. But if you’re not willing to kind of put in the time and the effort to get very, very well versed in a lot of smaller fixes and mechanical knowledge, it is truly a tremendous series of disadvantages. And all the love to people who can make it work. I just can’t even imagine doing that with another person. I mean, oh my goodness, when I see people on social media that are a couple dynamic and they’re living in like twenty five square feet, I’m just so awestruck and dumbfounded by that. I mean, that’s a level of relationship I hope I can get to in my life. But man, I can hardly stand being with my dog in twenty five square feet 24/7.
[00:36:05] CHRIS: Man, I have to imagine too, you know, you move into this situation because you got some healing to do. Your foundation has been shook. I’m sure early in this camper life, you’re not looking to date. There’s a lot of wounds that need to heal first. But at some point in those seven months, you must be thinking maybe you’re out at a bar, you’re like, you want to go back to my place and you’re like, yeah I should just warn you, though, there’s a literal bucket of frozen feces. Is that cool with you?
[00:36:36] CALLER: That is like a verbatim scene out of my life. That’s like, dating, also interacting with just different people in your community, right? I think even catching up with friends or just seeing people that I regularly saw was always just gone out the window because I’d be like, well, can I sleep on your driveway because I’m here? And it’s like another level of awkward because it’s like, yeah, they’re not waking up with you on their couch. But they got a tank with a guy and a dog sleeping in it and parked in half of their driveway, and they don’t know how to tell me to go away.
[00:37:15] CHRIS: And are your friends worried about you? Are your friends like, man, he got the rug pulled out from under him on the relationship, and now he’s living in a van with a dog in our driveway. Are your friends concerned? But I have to feel like I mean, the stereotype in Colorado is that this would be less unusual than certainly where I live in New York, that it’s a little bit more of the fabric of the lifestyle there.
[00:37:39] CALLER: Sure, yeah, I definitely have one friend out of the many that I told about this, that were all like, man, this is a great idea. Like knowing you, you should do this. You’re gonna do great. But I did have one friend after day three when I called him and it was the land of darkness and icicles, and he touched base with me. But he was like, yeah, I think this was the worst idea you’ve ever had, and you’ve had some bad ideas. And that was the one person that now if I ever have a wild ass idea, that’s the person, the friend I hit up to say, hey, man, how bad of an idea is this? I need your honest opinion.
[00:38:21] CHRIS: Isn’t that so good? To find that friend? When you find that friend in your life who’s willing to go, hey, you’re fucking up. Sorry Sally. But you’re fucking up right now. When you get to a certain age and experience level in life where you’re like, oh, I will hold that person so close to the vest because you need that person in your life.
[00:38:40] CALLER: You need that person. And I think, too, this is something that I- you know, the other men that I find myself drawn to for friendship, something that we have talked about in almost all of my close male friendships have been that as an adult, it is difficult to create meaningful, deep adult friendships with other adults as we get older. And I found that to be a little bit of a struggle and something that other men in my immediate peer group tend to run into as well. And, you know, we kind of tend to maybe shrink into or fold more comfortably into our relationship dynamics. But when it comes down to a lot of outside community and building that, it can sometimes be difficult depending on, you know, what your job is and what your personality type is and things like that. So that was also a reality of like, not only being in this tiny, horrible tin box and having trouble, you know, picking up a lady. You go on a tinder date and say, hey, well, my house is right on the curb, so you wanna come over? But that, and i’m also just talking about kicking it with homies. Just finding a way to, you know, interact with people that involved an activity always instead of you want to just like kick it, you know, eat some food or watch a movie at somebody’s house, because that meant I was always over at somebody’s house and always imposing.
[00:40:10] CHRIS: Right. And then there’s times where you can feel that they kind of just want to go to bed, but they feel like they can’t because they’re like, I don’t want to kick him back to the broken down truck he’s chosen to live in.
[00:40:22] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. You get to know these gyms around town really well. That stinky dude, coming in- he doesn’t ever work out, but boy, he uses about half our water every time he comes in.
[00:40:35] CHRIS: Yeah, there’s people who do that in New York I hear. Sometimes you’ll see like in the outer boroughs, like Queens, where I live, like out in the deeper parts that are less part of it, you’ll see like an RV parked on the curb and you start realize, oh there’s people in New York City who have a gym membership so they can shower and they’re living out of an RV in New York City. It’s wild.
[00:40:54] CALLER: Yeah, that’s nuts. That’s another level.
[00:41:00] CHRIS: I wonder, in some ways it must be easier than what you described, though. Some, up and down.
[00:41:02] CALLER: If I was to ever do it again, I’m just a simple- I’m a simple dude. I mean, I don’t need much. Like I don’t, as far as like, water, like, just give me a jug of water. I don’t need a water pump. I don’t need a sink. I don’t need a black water tank, and I don’t want to mess with any of it. I’ll poop in a bucket as long as that bucket isn’t an actual flushing toilet that I then have to take a week’s worth of duke and find a place to dump it. And it was also bizarrely expensive. There’s little things like, you know, dumping your waste costs something, and the truck was insanely expensive to fill up. I mean if you’re- respect to every time I see somebody in F-350 because, you know, they’re filling up their tank for like $150 worth of diesel, that’s taken them about six miles down the road before they have to fill up again. It’s just nuts. I don’t know why anybody wouldn’t want a supercar efficient, gas efficient vehicle.
[00:41:54] CHRIS: I was just going to say, I think for a lot of people who were like respect to all those F-150 owners pumping $150 worth a diesel. I feel like any Colorado environmentalist, you would think people would be like no, stop doing that, stop pumping $150 into the diesel.
[00:42:10] CALLER: I hated it. I should have moved into a Prius. Every time I see a Prius, I’m like, that’s a reasonable length for a person to sleep in the back. Just changing how you look at all vehicles. Can I sleep in there? Otherwise, I’m not interested.
[00:42:27] CHRIS: Yes. Help the environment, live out of an electric car when your life crumbles. Now wait, I want to-
[00:42:35] CALLER: When that weird looking new Tesla truck rolls out, that’s the thing.
[00:42:39] CHRIS: Yes, where no one can smash your windows. Oh wait, everyone can smash your windows. I gotta ask you. I gotta ask you, and I don’t want to keep bringing it back to the painful part. But when you- so you get these screen grabs. And sounds like there’s probably been a bunch of stuff over the past two years where you’re like, oh, this thing that made me think I was crazy actually makes a lot more sense now. What’s that conversation like when you sit down? Is your ex-partner trying to find a way out of it or trying to deny it at first, or is it just like, well, the jig’s up, let me tell you that I have- because it sounds like she had some sort of addiction type issue going on. I would have to imagine.
[00:43:30] CHRIS: And what a good time to pause because that’s a cliffhanger I bet we’ve all been wondering about. How did that conversation go down? We’re going to hear all about that and more when we get back. Check out the ads.
[00:43:47] CHRIS: Thanks advertisers for helping this show to exist. And now let’s finish off the phone call.
[00:43:54] CHRIS: Because it sounds like she had some sort of addiction type issue going on. I would have to imagine.
[00:44:02] CALLER: Yeah, there is definitely an interesting piece of, you know, how do I approach this and what does that conversation look like and how do we tackle that? So I ended up just calling her, and during that time to wrap the story up, she had not responded. And so for almost a month or two after I sent that text, and was like, hey, you know, I kind of knew what was going on. And I started to put this all together, like, you know, [beep] said a lot of mean things out of anger and hurt. And she responded in kind and ended up getting very, very defensive as a result. And basically, she just completely ghosted and we didn’t talk for almost another year and a half after that. But recently, and this is a little bit of catharsis and a little bit of cleaning up in early 2020 that I’ve been really thankful for, and some healing that’s come of this was I was on one of the old dating apps and who do I see go by, is my ex’s face. And I remember kind of staring at it and deciding, you know, here’s that opportunity- I actually laughed, my response was like kind of a crazy laughter. I was like, why is she back on here? And like, is she cheating on the person that she’s now with? Like, what is going on? And I ended up swiping right, which means yes. And we matched and she sent me a message the next morning that just said- oh no, I sent her one that said, “well”, and she wrote back “well”, and then all I had was vitriol, Chris. I only had a lot of mean, not okay things to say. And so I ended up just writing a message of, I don’t think I have anything nice to say, and we don’t have anything to talk about. And I signed off and blocked her. And then about 10 minutes later, I got an e-mail that was her apologizing and saying, I’d like to apologize to you in person and explain kind of what had happened. And again, I had all this, you know, despite all this therapy and I actually had PTSD therapy and EMDR therapy, and all these different things. Despite all that, I was still carrying around- I was surprised by how much baggage I had been carrying with me while I was moving through that following period of silence between the two of us. And so I’d begun to respond in this really negative kind of aggressive way and ended up sending this message back. And then about 20 minutes later, I was just being eaten up about it, you know, questioning why I responded so brashly and so quickly. So I wrote back like, listen, I apologize. It’s my turn to apologize about that mean message. And maybe it would be cathartic to just spend 10, 20 minutes and watch you actually, you know, say I’m sorry in person. And so we did end up meeting up. Target parking lots are really a great place for emotional upheavals.
[00:47:12] CHRIS: [Laughing]
[00:47:09] CALLER: And so we ended up at a target parking lot, breaking some things down. And the thing that was helpful was, you know-
[00:47:19] CHRIS: Wait, why, why a Target parking lot? Why? You can’t just say that-
[00:47:25] CALLER: No, I don’t know what it is. It’s like the standardization of it, if you will. Like the lights and the just like, you know, there’s like the random gas station. There’s at least one person eating a full meal in their car. There’s one person smoking like three cigarettes in their car. There’s just something nice about the fact you can just pull up in this public neutral zone that has no emotional attachment to it and just unload. Wait, time check. How much time do we have?
[00:47:52] CHRIS: We have 17 minutes left. I was hoping you were going to say, well, that just happened to be where my home was broken down at that time, was the Target parking lot.
[00:48:01] CALLER: [Laughs] No, I had since moved out of the camper and into a smaller house.
[00:48:09] CHRIS: Nice. So you are living in a house now. You have a home now.
[00:48:13] CALLER: I am in a brick and mortar structure now. And I love it. I love it. I love it in a way I never thought I would love it again. But yeah, I will say to wrap this story up that she did own all of the things that had happened. And I had this whole list of questions and mysteries about, you know, what was a lie and what wasn’t, because we never had that closing conversation of like what was going on, like what was happening. And she was able to kind of break that down and just sat there and stuck it out. And I think she had done a lot of growing and a lot of healing as well. So it ended up being a very healthy thing in the long run, albeit extremely difficult. I mean, there was a lot of tears, still some name calling, but a lot of healing came out of that as well, just being able to talk about, you know, specifically this scenario like, what was happening when, you know, she called me up wasted one night and told me that most of the things that she had been kind of creating as far as like her dead grandpa, or her car breaking down, or being stuck in a snowstorm on the other side of the state. All these just bizarre excuses and kind of elaborate lies about like what she was actually up to and what was going on or who she was with and what, you know, all these little specifics of like, I just never found out what the answers to those things were, and it just ate me up. And that was something I couldn’t get closure on because I just had no venue to find out what had happened. And it was stuff I just couldn’t get over because the lies were so elaborate and kind of replete.
[00:50:08] CHRIS: That’s fascinating because I guess when I think about it, when this is something that goes on so long, it’s like, on some level, I think we can all imagine, oh, my trust feels violated, my heart feels broken. You must sit there and wonder, what is it about me that is inadequate, but all those things, at the end of the day, I think are healing little easier, because what you’re describing is when something like this happens, it’s like, oh, you actually, in an effort to protect your own hidden behavior, you let me think I was crazy. You let me think I didn’t have a total grip on reality cause things seemed so strange and you always had a reason. And I sat there for years with this tenuous grasp on what was going on. That must feel really scary, outside of all the romantic implications of being cheated on.
[00:51:08] CALLER: That is the most concise reflection that has been thrown back at me since the story has wrapped up, and I appreciate you saying that. It was scary as hell, man. It truly was like deeply disturbing. There were just so many pieces of my reality that I was realizing were just not actually a thing. So many pieces of reality that I thought were a certain way, and then I found out that they were not that way at all. And that disturbance in facts is really upsetting and really strange as well. And I actually, I think I may be more sensitive than the average bear. Something that I am also heading into in 2020 is that I haven’t spoken with my birth dad in over 10 years now, I actually extradited him out of my life. He had a history of cheating on our family. And, you know, I still don’t have the facts. But when I was growing up, he was a traveling salesman. And when my parents divorced, it was probably 10 years past due. But it was primarily because we started kind of- my mom, my brother, and I started to piece together the fact that, yeah, that he had been if not cheating, but at the very least cheating, but maybe also had a lot more going on like potentially an entire second family that he’d started about five years prior to their divorce, and just that complete mind blown and world flipping of kind of recognizing like, oh, my father is not a good man. This is not somebody that I necessarily even want in my sphere or any of my immediate peoples sphere. And, you know, he is quick to temper and maybe not the greatest human on the planet. But I think like the overlap of what had happened with my ex and, you know, some prior traumas piled on top of each other, it was extremely upsetting in a way that maybe it wouldn’t have been if it was just the single isolated event.
[00:53:31] CHRIS: I bet. When you say you extradited him, is that just the word you’re using? Or did you have like legal proceedings to remove him from your life?
[00:53:39] CALLER: It’s a word I’m using, but you know, I’ve cut off all contact and so has my mom, so has my brother. And it’s just at the point where we start to kind of put all these things together, and yeah, just completely cut him out. So I’ve gotten two or three letters from him over the years, maybe gotten some emails that I’ve missed. But yeah, I’ve never responded to anything. And it’s now been probably four or five years since I’ve actually heard anything from him. But that’s very much something that I’m interested in. After the experience of kind of, you know, forgiving my ex for all these things and these lies and these experiences that we had gone through, the physical weight that was lifted off my shoulders was so tremendous. The feeling of lightness was just so real. And I’d read things and I’d heard things about what it feels like to really forgive somebody who had hurt you deeply, and you know, what that experience was like. But to actually experience it myself, like physically feel the weight lifted and the stress leave my body over the course of the next two or three days of processing that conversation was so wonderful and overwhelming that that is something, you know, that forgiveness on those deeper levels is something I’m gonna be looking at. And hopefully we’ll be actually potentially driving through my dad’s town where he lives on the West Coast in the next month. So I think I’m at the point where I’m going to be reaching out to him for the first time in ten years to just see if we can grab some coffee and see what that conversation looks like because you know, if the feeling of forgiveness from somebody who, you know, wasn’t their best possible selves over the course of two years with me. But like that and seeing that feeling of forgiveness was so intense and so light from that experience, then I’m interested in starting to parse out what that conversation could look like with somebody who, you know, helped birth me.
[00:55:50] CHRIS: That is- what an intense turn this took at the end. What a beautiful thing to hear you went through something very hard, it gave you actual PTSD that you needed therapy for, but taught you the value of forgiveness, and maybe at the end of the day your ex has handed you this gift that will allow you to kind of close the loop on an even more foundational relationship that needs forgiveness. That’s huge.
[00:56:17] CALLER: I hope so, man. I hope so. That would be a nice arc.
[00:56:23] CHRIS: I’m sure. But you know what? Even outside of the arc and like writing the narrative of what it could be, I have to imagine even just on a basic level, no matter how it goes, removing any like romantic fantasizing about what the story would become, it’s like the fact that you are now a grown up who’s been through stuff and handled stuff and learned how to deal with it, and to go back into your dad’s life now that it’s on your terms as an adult. I think even if you wind up in a blow out fight where the issues don’t get resolved, that’s going to feel like you were able to take that sense of agency on your own in a way that’s gonna be gratifying, even if you’re like, you know what? This went poorly and you didn’t apologize for a thing. At least you’re not a kid anymore, wondering where your dad is. You’re a grown up waltzing into his town, going I’m here- this is not because you sent me an email, it’s because I have decided it’s time to sit down and talk. Just that alone sounds like taking a hot shower, you know?
[00:57:24] CALLER: Yeah, that was very well put. And I think that might have been the little extra push and a little boost I needed to kind of make this happen. So I think I’m gonna be doing that. And I appreciate you saying that because that is very much something- I’m thinking I’m in my early thirties and actually I’ve got questions from you. I think a lot about kind of, you know, if you’re breaking up your life by decades, so, you know, you’re in your twenties. And for me, 20’s was very much about like partying and traveling, having the wildest time I possibly can. I spent four years in my early 20’s hitchhiking around, freight train hopping around the country.
[00:58:02] CHRIS: Colorado in the house! I would have loved- we only have six minutes left. I’ve always been fascinated with the whole freight train lifestyle. Wish we- I wish I knew- you got a lot to talk about, man.
[00:58:16] CALLER: Wild, it’s wild. But now I’m in my early 30’s, and I’m you know, I’m self-employed, I’ve got this job I really like. And, you know, I’m in this house and I got the tiny home junk out of my system. And I’m feeling, you know, starting to heal up and I’m looking forward to my 30’s and I’m thinking like, what kind of a man do I want to be? What kind of adult do I want to be? And if we’re breaking up by the decades, I get to talk with you, you know, as you’re creeping up on 40.
[00:58:44] CHRIS: Oh, God.
[00:58:46] CALLER: So what advice do you have about your 30’s that you could pass along to those of us that are just now beginning the slow journey towards the end? 40 feels old, I’m not gonna lie. It terrifies me, but, you know, I look around and I think like, you know, early 30’s also feels old and kind of terrifies me. But-
[00:59:09] CHRIS: You know, I’m flattered. I’m flattered that I’d be someone you’d look to for advice. I’m flattered. I do have to say, the fact that I have now officially become someone who people in their 30’s look to me for the wisdom of the elders. This is an eye opener.
[00:59:25] CALLER: [Laughs] Chris, I also just want to preface this with man, I’ve followed your career for a while and I just really, really believe in what you’re doing. And I know people have said this on a lot of different calls, but really, truly, man, you’re doing some incredible stuff.
[00:59:38] CHRIS: Thanks, thanks, man.
[00:59:40] CALLER: And I say that, you know, and ask for this advice because I
respect your work and I love what you’ve been building, and I love what you’ve been
doing. And I’m asking for that more than, hey, old crusty man, what do you got?
[00:59:53] CHRIS: [Laughs] Which is also true, cause that’s largely how I behave and grumble about my age at this- I would say this man. Here’s the honest truth is what I’ll say, is my 30’s were significantly better and more fun and more interesting than my 20’s. And I’m coming up on 40, and I hope that that continues. I think the- how would I say it, like- I think in your 20’s and the first half your 30’s, you have this constant feeling of like, well, what have I done and what have I accomplished and have I done enough? And am I holding up to the standards of where society wants you, and all those things, in my career? Am I making enough money? Am I making enough headway? Should I be married by now? Why aren’t I, this and that? And blah blah blah, and I just felt like in my 30’s, I started to realize that all of those questions were sort of artificial and imposed upon me. And they weren’t actually questions I had about myself. And my 30’s became the stretch in my life where I think I started honestly asking myself the questions that define my life, versus my 20’s, which was so much more about worrying about what everybody else was thinking. And then you realized, oh, nobody’s worried. Nobody’s actually worried about me. These are just questions we get from movies and from the way we’re taught in schools and all the sort of standards that life imposes on us, just because life does that. And the 30’s- your 30’s is when you finally get to go wait, hold on. When I stop worrying about who everyone else wants me to be, who do I want to be? And answering those questions was so much more of a gratifying process than I ever knew. And my 30’s, so much better and more fun and more gratifying than my 20’s. Hands down. Being in your 30’s is great and you’re physically- that’s what I’ll say to, you’re a guy who likes to climb mountains and whatnot, and I will say this is just genuine. Maybe it’s a little cliche, but as I come up on 40, one of the things- there’s a few things, my hairline is starting to go really bad, worse than it already has been. So that makes me insecure. But also, like your 30’s, you get to finally be a human being who’s well rounded and figuring it out for yourself. But you still physically aren’t hurting all the time. I’m 39 now and it’s starting to become a thing where my back hurts every day, like I jam my finger four days ago and I haven’t been able to wear my wedding ring because my finger is so swollen, it just won’t heal. So-
[01:02:28] CALLER: Oh, no!
[01:02:28] CHRIS: Your 30’s are a beautiful middle ground where you have all the physical
ability of your 20’s and all the agency that will come as you get older, as far as being in
charge your own life. Enjoy your 30’s, enjoy your 30’s.
[01:02:45] CALLER: Said with some real grace. Thank you for that.
[01:02:49] CHRIS: I do my best. Now wait, we got two minutes left, but I gotta know, when you’re riding around on freight trains, this old like-
[01:02:58] CALLER: If y’all ever get through on The Chris Gethard show, just know that it really does go that fast. This is nuts, man. I can’t. Two minutes. What are you talking about, two minutes?
[01:03:03] CHRIS: But wait, are you out there reading all the hobo graffiti and stuff? Or is that like old school? Is that real?
[01:03:12] CALLER: Oh, when you’re talking freight trains-
[01:03:14] CHRIS: Yeah. I’ve always been fascinated by freight train people.
[01:03:19] CALLER: Not so much the graffiti. Well, yes and no. So there’s certain tags that different people have. So they’ll put a certain sign or they’ll put a certain name up. And when you are in it for long enough- so I freight train hopped nonstop for two years and during that time you get to know people. Nobody has normal quote unquote, normal names that they were born with. The folks have names like Wishbones and Knuckles and Chickenfoot and Slime Ball. And you start looking for those tags when you’re getting on these freight trains in different cities, because then, you know, you know that your community had been there, at least somebody that you knew or you recognize had been there or, you know, you look for those little signs in different places you’re hiding out while you’re waiting to get on the freight train because half the game is just waiting and the other half is just sitting on the loudest vehicle you can possibly imagine, trying to have a yelling conversation with the person that’s on the next car up from you.
[01:04:15] CHRIS: Yeah, trying to dodge those yard bulls so that you can latch on.
[01:04:22] CALLER: It’s real man. It is terrifying. I mean, you really gotta get sneaky and be comfortable folding yourself into tiny little spaces with an instrument and a backpack and another human.
[01:04:32] CHRIS: An instrument?
[01:04:34] CALLER: Yeah. God, I used to travel with a banjo
[01:04:37] CHRIS: You used to ride freight trains with a banjo all over the country? We’re going to pause this, I’m going to give you a couple extra minutes because I’ve always been fascinated by freight trains. I got a couple questions. So you used to go, sit in the yard with the banjo, dodging the yard bulls. Are you eating like beans out of a can over an open fire? How real is this as far as this old school hobo lifestyle?
[01:04:58] CALLER: Well, we can update, let’s update this view a little bit. So it was a bag of Taco Bell beans and rice burritos, there was a buddy with a broken accordion, a friend with a harmonica that he could play with his nostrils, and me on a banjo and I could barely play six chords. And you better believe we can make some damn good music out of an evening waiting for the freight train. So it was like drunken updated 20:20 Woody Guthrie
dreams we were living, but then they were good dreams. It was some good, some good years.
[01:05:34] CHRIS: And from what I hear, some of the train employees, their job is to get you out of there and they can be real rough on you and rough you up. But I’ve also heard that some of the train guys are so into the train culture that there’s a begrudging, not even begrudging, sort of like a quiet love of the culture where some of the train guys will actually look out for those people traveling.
[01:05:55] CALLER: I will say, I never went into the larger yards, and we’re talking like Kansas City being, it’s just this massive junction for the entire country, right? Like if you’re trying to move a load on a freight from West Coast to East Coast, you inevitably go through a St. Louis or Kansas City. And those yards, man, they’re miles and miles and miles and miles. Like, if you end up in a train that gets buried somewhere deep in there, like there’s no way you’re getting out without somebody at the minimum seeing you and making eye contact with you. And that’s where those bulls you know, the stories that I still hear every once in a while about somebody getting caught, somebody getting beaten up, somebody getting arrested, whatever. The thing is, they’re always in those massive yards. But I never, to be honest, I just straight up never had the balls to go in those bigger yards. It’s almost exclusively small town little pickups, places where, you know, it’s called siding, where a train will just stop for a little while. And oftentimes the engineer and the conductor will pop out, and then they’ll get a new engineer and a new conductor to climb in. And then it takes the train on to the next stop about six to eight hours away. But, you know, those are the kind of places where I really try to focus and like specialized and get good at, you know, when they’re leaving and how they’re leaving and what kind of cars they have and maybe where they’re going. And there is quite a bit of secret data or info that’s floating around out there, too, which that was an entire I mean- truly inaccessible in an era where you can get Reddit and pretty much find out, you know, anything that you need. Or like, there’s the darknet, and find out the info that you need. But this doesn’t exist as far as I know, except for word of mouth.
[01:07:35] CHRIS: I loved- your whole story was fascinating. We could have talked about this for an hour. Any other freight train riders out there, call in. I got one more question about the freight trains, and then one more to end the call. Did you ever know about this tag, Bozo Texino?
[01:07:50] CALLER: Bozo Texino? That is not ringing a bell.
[01:07:55] CHRIS: Well, there’s these chalk tags on the freight trains and, you know, some of the freight train graffitis, like what you think with spray cans, with some of it it’s just chalk markings, and there’s a guy who for over 60 years has been writing his name Bozo Texino, and I’ve always found it very fascinating. Anyway, maybe someday we’ll talk more about the train life. In the meantime, okay, so we’ve heard your story about lost love. Heard about your dad, you used to travel with a banjo on freight trains for years. You lived out of a car shitting in a bucket for seven months. You’ve climbed 50 mountains with your dog. You’re clearly someone who has done a lot of soul searching. And you said in the beginning, recently, your dog is becoming famous. Final question, what did your dog do that made your dog blow up? What was it that you got on film that made this dog exp-
[01:08:50] CALLER: Okay, two things, two things. First, I just couldn’t help myself and I just looked up, who is Bozo Texino? And just so you know, there was a DVD out there that you can find and purchase. And you can find out who Bozo Texino is.
[01:09:05] CHRIS: Yes. I’ve wanted to see that documentary called Who is Bozo Texino. It’s a whole investigation into who could be doing this. Yeah, I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve wanted to for years.
[01:09:15] CALLER: Gonna be looking that up soon. And then the thing that he got famous for was jumping over things. So he’s really, really-
[01:09:23] CHRIS: Oh, your dog. Not Bozo Texino, your dog.
[01:09:24] CALLER: No, not Bozo Texino, my dog. So he’s really good at- That story
would have been funny, Bozo Texino gets famous for weaving over bike racks. So my dog is really good at urban barkour, barkour.
[01:09:43] CHRIS: Barkour, not parkour
[01:09:44] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So he’s gotten a little bit of love from people just watching him jump over planters and run along walls and weave through bike racks and jump onto my back. He’ll do it all of his own volition by snapping or tapping my feet or pointing at stuff and he’ll just do it, man. And people have really enjoyed it. So yeah, times when things tend to be a little bit tough, I think a dog jumping over a wall is what we all maybe need a little bit of right now.
[01:10:17] CHRIS: Your dad betrayed your family, your girlfriend betrayed you. Living in a van couldn’t solve it. You didn’t find the answers you needed out there on those lonely rails of America. You’ve climbed to 50 mountain tops and not one of those mountain tops contained the answer. And who knew it was all in getting a dog to jump over a big fucking flower pot? Who knew that’s where the answers would lie?
[01:10:47] CALLER: I will also say, getting on Beautiful Anonymous was truly the highlight of my year. I can’t tell you how happy this made me. Thank you for everything you do, man. I mean, really. Thank you. There’s a lot of us out here following you, and we love what you’re doing, and I hope you keep it up.
[01:11:01] CHRIS: That’s super nice. Yeah, thanks so much to you and your dog and good luck with meeting your dad and everything. Thanks for being honest, and I’m sorry that
you dealt with that infidelity, sounds really bad. And thank you for all your crazy stories.
[01:11:17] CALLER: Thank you, Chris. You are the man.
[01:11:24] CHRIS: Caller, thank you. Hope everything goes well. Like I said at the end there, I really hope that conversation with your dad turns out all right. Hearing that and hearing your experience with forgiveness and how you were forced into a bad situation that taught you how to forgive, that was eye opening and really beautiful. And I hope it continues to unfold and that that goes really well. Thanks for sharing all your crazy stories, much love to you and your dog. Urban barkour is the future everyone, let’s not forget. Thank you to Jared O’ Connell and Anita Flores in the booth. Thank you to Shell Shag for the music. Wanna know more about me, when I’m on the road, and where you can get tickets to Beautiful Cononymous, Chris Geth.com. And if you like the show, go to Apple podcasts, rate, review, subscribe- really helps when you do. Thanks so much. We’ll see you next time.
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