Last week, a few friends and I were talking about how weird it would be to have people who aren't related to you who look just like you. Except about three seconds into agreeing with my friends, I stopped.
"Wait a minute! This happens to me all the time."
There was one week when I was a missionary that I was asked three or four times if I was the person they thought I was. One even insisted that I had lived in New York state. "Are you absolutely sure that you didn't live in New York?" As though I would have forgotten that fact myself if they didn't remind me. "No, I'm absolutely certain I have never lived in New York." "Wow, I was so sure that it was you. It must have been someone else."
One time, while visiting Monticello, one of the ladies in the gift shop asked how track was going. I looked at her slightly confused and she apologized. "Oh! Are you not the girl who is on the UVa track team?" This was a compliment I was ready to take. "No, but thank you for thinking that I look like the type of person who could run track." She didn't seem to pick up on my enthusiasm and kindly continued, "You just look so much like her. I would have thought for sure it was you."
And then, of course, one cannot forget my verbally awkward experience in which some woman came up to me in church and told me that I looked so much like her daughter that she thought I was she. I just awkwardly stood there, unsure how to comfort her that her daughter didn't come to surprise her at church on Christmas. So, another daughter, who looked nothing like me, jumped in to dispel the awkwardness, "What did you expect? For her to show up and sit with another family?"
Yesterday, I was at the mall and paused while walking through one of the department stores to look at UVA apparel when an attendant looked at me, "Oh, you've come here before!" I looked back her, trying to recognize her face. It had been at least a year since I'd been in this store but maybe she just has a really good memory? "Yes, I have." I responded, still not sure where this was going. "You came in last time wearing a backpack." I thought about the backpack that I always carry and wondered if I had ever come to this store with it. Confusion must have been evident because she jumped in, "Oh, it must not be you. Well, you look just like the person who came in. She was a very impressive woman. She had been living out in the woods for an entire year by herself!" I suddenly felt guilty for looking at non-necessary apparel as she told me the story about my doppelganger whose house that she was living in had been sold by her landlords right out from under her and how she had been forced to live in a tent. "She's kind of my hero," the attendant explained. "I look up to her a lot." And apparently, I looked just like her. "Wow," I agreed. "She does sound like an amazing woman." I tried to imagine living in the woods in a tent for a year.
The lives that people with my face lead! I kind of wonder - if I were to meet them face to face, would I really see someone who looks like me? Or do people just see in me what they want to see?