Thursday, September 02, 2004

There's another Georgie deep inside

I've been experiencing Jimi Hendrix issues lately with doppelgangers. I haven't seen any, but they're constantly being intimated to me. Why? Maybe I invite the strange intimacy that allows my shadowed Other to glide close to my life. To tell you the truth, I'm growing my very own doppelganger out of handy household materials. An empty can of turpentine, some rags, a pelt (important), spare bicycle parts (except for brakes, because I'm a no-brakes kind of guy). The empty can functions as my head, the rags and pelt as my torso, and various bits of bike as my lower body. Communication will be limited to whatever is printed on the can, so expect lots of talk about proper ventilation and new standards of professionalism in turpentine manufacture. Conversation available in French and English. The use of wheels instead of feet and the lack of brakes will make my doppelganger dangerously fast on downward slopes, so exercise due caution on walks. The rags and pelt will suffice. Sadly my doppelganger has no arms. When you're living under my roof you've got to earn your arms.

Right, that bit was a lie to entertain you for a brief moment while I puzzled out a way to talk about doppelgangers - not actual physical doubles, but the doubling of one's life that occurs with a road job. Papers report with the glee the scandal of the travelling businessman who leads two sealed-off lives, with separate families and houses and even names. People read the stories with a sense of wonder or perhaps envy; how can a man split his identity into various characters and then keep them contained? But the trick is not to create and maintain different identities when you're on the road; the trick is to keep your identity stable. As soon as the plane begins to taxi down the runway I forget the intervening weeks at home. I feel as if my home were another stop, a layover on the way to the next interview. Likewise, as soon as I walk into my apartment I forget that I've been away. My work is so strange and disjointed, so full of abrupt relationships and switches in scenery, that it resembles a powerful dream, so consuming that I forget my life and so vivid that I remember the dream in its entirety when I wake up next to The Lotus in our bed.

Consequently there are two of me: one who phones from overseas, the other who sits in the living room. I can't shake the creepy feeling that I'm going to pick up the phone one day and hear myself on the other end. Or maybe I'll be scanning the heiroglyphs at an airport terminal and I'll spot myself at the Customs booth. If that ever happens, I'll go grab myself and we'll spend the day playing practical jokes on airport security. Those security people, they're all about the laughter.

4 comments:

luvabeans said...

that's a very ray bradburyish idea. i don't like it. no, i don't.

schmutzie said...

I was telling Cleaning Lady about how you have two different lives like that, and she said that you better watch out, because you might just run into yourself one day. I laughed briefly, and then I had to change the subject. I don't like that one bit, either, the other you wandering around somewhere. What if he decides to come home?

palinode said...

If he comes home and catches us together, he'll be very upset, but knowing him as well as I do, he'll go out for Vietnamese food and return with a clear head and an unorthodox proposal.

luvabeans said...

y'all have a Cleaning Lady? shmanzy. or maybe that's just an alias.