When She Married Moby
A minor, meta, midcentury midlife crisis
Jennifer S. Deayton
First, they asked, why Moby?
Meaning, if she were going to have a midlife crisis resulting in a brief, polygamous union wouldn’t a more likely, erotic scenario be, say: strapping on an American sailor fresh off the aircraft carrier or being pinned against the wall by Raylan Givens or starring in her very own hipster-lesbian drama?
She told her friends of Moby’s veganism and her fatigue at roasting large cuts of meat. How the bacon smell lingers long after frying. She spoke of living in four countries in eleven years. And that expatriates never know how long they’ll stay, so they buy Ikea, or they buy second-hand Ikea. It was the saddest thing she’d ever said.
She showed them The New York Times Style article, with accompanying slide show, and they didn’t need to ask any more questions.
Click here to read about a caring, sensitive man with a stellar career and a rock-n-roll-worthy home. A castle, actually, with its own name: Wolf’s Lair. Filled with the clean lines of midcentury modern, where every piece of furniture was positioned exactly where it should be. So when you were tired or you turned around or you needed to set your drink down, a surface would be there for you. Yet Moby - fit, artistic, optimistic Moby, a collector of old globes – was lonely. And there she was, on the other side of the world, an expat mom with a love for all things Eames, the looming future of an empty nest and (on the plus side) her husband’s half a million frequent flier miles. A small bubble burst inside her, spilling out the 0’s and 1’s of digital promise, a counterfeit closeness. He needs me, she thought. His home needs me.
She started with a self-reflexive, knowing handle. Something fun: @Lygerfan76. Bred for its skills and magic. She carefully curated her followings: smart, witty people working in news, music, comedy, science. She composed drafts and never sent them; posts had to be succinct, brilliant. She wasn’t there yet. One night, after the kids were in bed and she’d had a couple of glasses of wine, she thought she’d written the perfect response to an @aimeemann post about a baby hippo but no. No likes, no replies. She hadn’t quite made it to the person she wanted to be for Moby. She practiced by favoriting lesser-known DJs, travel show hosts and NASA physicists.
After 2,670 tweets she was ready.
She replied to Moby’s funny with her own, incorporating the words ‘Univox Superfuzz’ (it’s not a euphemism, look it up). He favorited it. She sent out a mindfulness link. He retweeted it. Richard Dreyfuss did too, but she figured he just wanted to get into her pants, since she’d totally photo-shopped her profile pic. She now had 593,540 followers. Things were happening quickly. A kind of fame. When Moby became follower 593,541, it was exhilarating, like speeding past the ‘kids on bikes’ warning signs in her compound. Maybe she wasn’t just a Mom. Maybe she was turbocharged, mysterious, a hot online presence that nobody knows but everybody follows.
The chance to meet came one day in November. The children left for school camps on the same day her husband flew to Seoul. She unlocked her phone. Yes, she was still an Asia Miles Redemption Group Member. No, Moby was not on tour. He was in Los Angeles.
She didn’t even tell her friends.
She returned to his design article, the one she’d bookmarked. She paused over each shot of Moby’s home: the afternoon light streaming in to the pool room, the teak sideboard with the tapered legs, the architectural sketches in black frames. The Danish wood of Wolf’s Lair (not a Viggo Mortensen movie btw) called out to her. This was a real home. This could be hers.
When her phone alerted her to the boarding pass now in her Inbox, her heart jumped. She hadn’t had this much freedom since… America Online.
On the airplane, the last tweet she sent went something like this:
If I knew anything about music, I’d totally remix @moby song.
It took only two days to find him, sitting in one of Silver Lake’s most popular vegetarian cafés (#3 on Trip Advisor). She walked over to him with her tofu scramble. She asked about his Cajun tempeh meatloaf. Then, she pulled in her core muscles, gave her pelvic floor a discrete squeeze – I have confidence in me! – and said: I’m Lygerfan76. He smiled. In person, his eyes were bigger and more playful than she’d ever imagined.
They talked for hours, about music, artisanal pottery, wayward parents and the canned laugh track on M.A.S.H. He played her a new song. She told him about the wonders of soya mock meats. They shared a hemp protein shake.
He tweeted a sweet, cryptic message about love and modifications. She tweeted about having the second-cleanest colon on the East side. But then, afraid he’d think she was making fun of him, she tweeted again, this time a quote from the designer George Nelson:
"…when the solitary individual finds
he is connected with a reality he never dreamed of."
Back at his place she showed him where she lived on one of his globes. Next to the Kowloon peninsula, the map read: Here Be Dragons. When he didn’t confuse Hong Kong with Japan, she thought, I could love this man. That, and of course when she saw the view of the Hollywood sign from his bedroom. It was just like on the website, only real.
At a Malibu ashram, James Franco married them. Honestly, the hardest working man in show business and really, super sweet. They put their wedding pics on Instagram. 354,638 Likes.
They returned to Moby’s castle as the sun was setting. He pulled her close and growled, Let’s do it in the Womb Chair.
She kissed him, but her lips trembled. The chair was authentic vintage, and Moby was actually Richard Melville Hall. It said so on their marriage license. He gently pushed her backward in to the seat. She began to panic: how did it get this far? She couldn’t consummate a lie. But, oh this IS the most comfortable chair in Saarinen history.
He leaned over her, his hands on the contoured armrests. The chair’s cradle form caressed her, so perfectly balanced, the reupholstered tweed soft and sustainable. She was at home, far from home. She’d forgotten herself. She closed her eyes and pulled him toward her: please don’t let my hips be wider than his, she thought, please don’t let my hips be wider than his.
Moby took off his black glasses and kissed her neck. He was urgent; he was tender. His grey-brown beard scratched her cheeks. He unzipped her dress and looked into her eyes. I want to ask you something, he said.
She nodded yes, anything (except what I’ve been doing these last fifteen years or what I really thought about Wait For Me).
I want to ask you… to call me, Ishmael.
Her hands froze on his back. He asked again - will you call me - and in his question she didn’t hear Mr. Hall or Moby or @thelittleidiot. She heard the soft, weary voice he sings with, only it was for her. Just for her. She knew she should feel grateful, euphoric. Out of 2.1 million followers, she was the one in his arms. But what popped in to her head was The Love Boat episode where Julie fights to join Gopher in his Brotherhood of the Sea by memorizing every word in Moby Dick. Call me Ishmael, Julie says over and over, Call me Ishmael. Jimmie Walker was in that episode.
To reignite her mood, she imagined tall, dark Gregory Peck playing Captain Ahab, but even that didn’t work. Moby was waiting. She looked up at the wood-beamed ceiling, recently restored to its 1920s elegance, and made a silent appeal: Florence Knoll, guide me. If she stayed she would forever be Julie, minus the coke-fueled perkiness, to his Gopher. Moby deserved more. Someone who wasn’t already married, for a start. Someone who loved him, for him, not for his renovated kitchen or his guesthouse, not for his collection of analog drum machines or his understated mix of colors and textures.
She told him the truth.
He retreated to his recording space, next to the kickboxing studio. She sat on the deck he used for meditation. From there she sent him a message. They met in the gatehouse turret, where the castle’s previous owner had once kept a monkey. She apologized. Moby cried. Then they hugged. They decided he should be the one to post about it. There would be a song, then a remix. She said their love would always mean more to her than a viral video.
When her long-haul touched down and everyone turned on their phones, she saw she had a message. A producer wanted to turn her tweets in to a thing, for Showtime, maybe Comedy Central. Could she come to LA?
She told them she thought @marthaplimpton would make a perfect her.
About the author:
Jennifer S. Deayton is a writer and filmmaker living in Hong Kong. She writes for food and travel shows, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in several regional anthologies and at the Stockholm Review of Literature and the upcoming Prairie Schooner Briefly Noted. Her award-winning short films have screened at festivals in London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Toronto and Cork. You can find her work here.