I keep being reminded that I have one of those faces that looks familiar to everyone. Apparently I have a lot of doppelgangers floating around. This is a bit of a blow to my ego. I think we all want to believe that we are completely one of a kind and irreplaceable. I’d like to think that I am striking in some way but I am constantly stopped on the street or the subway because someone thinks that I was in their grade four class or that I resemble their dental hygienist.
On a recent trip to Mexico I noticed that a man kept staring at me on the beach. “I must be looking pretty hot,” I thought to myself. One day he approached me and said, “I’m sure you must have noticed that I keep staring at you.” “This is where he is going to pull a business card from his Speedo and tell me that he is a talent agent,” I thought to myself. I began to imagine the stories I’d tell of how I was discovered by a model scout for middle-aged, soft bodied women.
“It’s uncanny. You look exactly like my accountant in Australia,” the non-talent scout told me.
My dreams of photo shoots and easy money came to an abrupt end. I looked like someone else again. An accountant. Not exactly an image that conjures up exotic beauty and glamour.
“I get that all the time,” I sighed, “I have one of those faces.”
I’d like to think that if I have a double she would be doing something a little more exciting than me, that the other me would be doing all the things I am afraid of doing. I don’t imagine my parallel life as a bean counter. Now I can’t risk going to Australia for fear of running into my accountant doppelganger. I hear that if you meet your doppelganger one of you will spontaneously combust.
Today I was once again mistaken for someone else. Lately I have changed where I go for coffee because they kept calling me ma’am. Recently when I was feeling particularly grumpy with winter angst I stopped in for a coffee and was momentarily cheered when I saw they were serving my favourite blend. I ordered a large, thinking that the day could be salvageable after all. “I’m sorry ma’am, we just ran out,” the barista said. That was it. Each of us has a defining moment when we realize that it is time to take a stand. This was mine. I stormed off, vowing never to return. At last I had something I could stand by, an unshakeable conviction and unwavering stance.
Since my ban of the coffee shop I have been frequenting a new place where no one calls me ma’am. Today one of the baristas lit up like a firefly when he saw me.
“Oh my God! It’s been so long! Where did you disappear to?” He exclaimed.
“I think you’re mistaking me for someone else,” I said. “I have that face.”
“No you don’t,” he assured me. “You have a very distinctive face. I totally remember you. It’s been ages.”
“I was here yesterday. I swear, it is my face.”
“Well I didn’t serve you yesterday I guess,” he answered, still convinced that I was his long-lost customer.
“Actually you did. You gave me a sample of your maple coffee.”
“You’re not the girl who used to come in every morning for a latte?” he asked wistfully.
“I just look like her. And I probably look like her high school geography teacher too,” I sighed.
“I’m so embarrassed,” he said.
“Well you have a great face,” he added as an afterthought and handed me my coffee.
My face is so great that apparently there are a million of them floating around. So much for being that special snowflake. We all want to think that we are all special in some way, that we aren’t a dime a dozen and that something sets us apart. Instead, I am reminded on a regular basis that as much as I want to think that I am unique, I’m pretty much like everyone else. As humbling as that can be, perhaps it is teaching me a valuable lesson. Maybe I am meant to recognize that we are all unified and connected somehow. Thanks to my it-is-so-interchangeable-it-is-remarkable face I might have more empathy and patience. Except for those who call me ma’am.