19 May 2010

Maybe you'll get what you wanted

I had one of those busy and exasperating mornings where I had to be everywhere, all at once. Another run at the grocery store, prescriptions to pick up, photos to retrieve, ink cartridges to purchase, no one thing at the same place as the others. I started early, and a couple of hours into the proceedings, decided I could really use a cup of coffee. With my strawberries in tow, I stopped at a recently reopened coffee house. The line was long, so I almost abandoned the idea, but fairly soon I was talking to the nice man behind the counter. As I waited for my nonfat latte, a woman standing beside me began talking, and after a moment, I realized that she was talking to me. I've become accustomed to people seemingly talking to themselves when in fact they are speaking into small microphones hidden about their persons. The kids and I often joke about others' imaginary friends.

She repeated her comment: "You're one of Chloe's clients aren't you?"

Client. A word that conjures up so many possibilities, even more in the OC than one might imagine. I wondered what this Chloe did and what sort of client that would make me. Considering I was standing there, unbathed, in work out clothes, perspiring a little because I'd walked rather quickly the significant distance from point A to point B in my meanderings, it didn't seem promising.

"I'm afraid that I don't know anyone called Chloe," I replied politely.

"Well, never mind," she said a bit sniffily.

Usually, I let that stuff go, but today, I was just irritated enough to respond. "Oh don't worry," I said breezily, "evidently I have doppelgangers everywhere."

She turned her face towards me. I couldn't see the expression in her eyes because she was wearing sunglasses indoors, but her jaw was slack, which told me enough.

"People mistake me for others all the time," I said slowly. I don't understand it, but it's true. Once, a man grabbed me a party, hugging me wildly while calling me by someone else's name. It was an unforgettable and very uncomfortable moment. For both of us.

At the explanation, the other woman made a noise--flustered, annoyed, I wasn't sure what. Fortuitously, my name was called and I grabbed my coffee and fled.

Often, I find myself striving for anonymity even in the outer world, and after a fashion, I seem to have found it, in the most unlikely form. I suppose that all that matters is that the people who are supposed to know who I am don't fail to recognize me.

Go listen to some good music: "White Shadows" from the album X&Y by Coldplay. It does surprise me how I often I hear "you look just like," because I've never seen anyone who looks like me.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Sounds to me as if someone was feeling quite superior ... until you used the word "doppleganger."