Thursday, November 12, 2009

trompe l'oeil

dca
I was pushing the stroller across the big street down by the reservoir when one of the cars stopped at the red light rolled down a window and someone began to yell "Niobe! Niobe! N-i-oooobe!" I looked into the car and saw a guy about my age, big, balding, wearing scrubs, the steering wheel in one hand, a blackberry in the other.

"You don't know who I am," he said.

"Of course I do," I lied. "It's, um, been a long time."

"Twenty years," he said. "No, more than that. But I'd know you anywhere. You're just as beautiful as ever. You haven't changed a bit."

He asked for my email address and I gave it to him and kept walking. It was cold and it was going to rain and there was poison ivy twined around the reservoir's chain link fence. I stopped trying to remember who he was and considered what he'd said. And, true or not, it was what I most wanted to believe. Everything was different now, everything was gone or altered past all recognition, but I was exactly the same.

21 comments:

Tash said...

Wish I was the same. No one would shout my name because no one from 20 years ago would possibly recognize me.

areyoukiddingme said...

People shout names at me, but not because they recognize me. :)

Actually, people shout names at me, but they are names of other people. I am one of those people who looks just like someone you know. It's happened everywhere I've gone, from my very own neighborhood to the Uffizi in Florence.

Aside from that, I don't look much different than I did when I was young. Good genes, as far as appearance in aging goes.

gretchen from lifenut said...

I see vaguely familiar people when I visit my parents in my hometown. Do I know her? What's her name?

They are thinking the same thing about me, I can tell. I am shocked when someone remembers my name, especially if it's a classmate from high school. I have changed a lot a lot a lot.

Betty M said...

I know that I dont look the same as I did 20 years ago. I also know that i see my old friends and my brain tells me they do look the same even if they truly, if the photographic evidence is reviewed, don't.

Magpie said...

I didn't know you 20 years ago, but I suspect that he's right.

serenity said...

I'm AWFUL with remembering people from my past, too. It's made for very awkward conversation multiple times. And why I avoid high school reunions.

But I know that I look at some people I knew in elementary/high school now and see the OLD them, even though I know, intellectually, that we've grown up.

Unfortunately, that goes for personalities as well. I expect them to actually BE the same person and am shocked when they do something different than what they would have done years ago.

xxx

Anonymous said...

lovely post, niobe. i,on the other hand,look nothing like i did 3 years ago. inside or out.

-Shamela

Alexicographer said...

In contrast to Serenity, I expect them to be different and am astonished when they haven't changed a bit -- and not necessarily in a good way.

Jus and Kat said...

Maybe you're your own doppelganger?

Aurelia said...

I look completely different. No comparison.

But I bet you look the same. As for this story, didn't you think it was odd, and did you really give some freaky stranger your email address?

I'm too paranoid, I guess.

Furrow said...

What a lovely thing to happen.

I find that I must constantly re-introduce myself to people.

angie said...

Now, that is a perfect post-beautiful and heartbreaking. Xo

slouchy said...

And you never figured out who he was? Even after?

Meim said...

Man, I wish someone would tell me that!

And, since it's making my mind hurt... is that picture of a picture in a magazine?

It's like a freakin' Magic Eye poster! LOL LOL (okay, actually I'm just crazy, but seriously... what is it?)

niobe said...

Meim: Exactly -- it's a picture of a picture in a magazine.

Slouchy, Aurelia: I did eventually figure out who he was -- the roommate of my college boyfriend.

Aunt Becky said...

I look exactly the same as I did then. And I'm pretty much sure that I kind of am the same.

painted maypole said...

hopefully he'll e-mail you and you'll figure out who he is. ;) nice to be recognized, though.

by the way... considering the shakespearean title of my own blog, I am ashamed to admit that I just got the Hamlet reference in your e-mail addy.

Anonymous said...

I was once out with my first son when he was about two at an indoor playgound. He was in my sight, but not next to me playing with some other kids. I hear another mom saying "There has to be a Maiden Name around here. Just look at that boy." (saying my maiden name and pointing at my kid) "Your right" I hear a second voice say. So I start scanning the room. A grade school classmate and a girl who was a couple grades ahead of us were there with their kids. That was weird.

Anonymous said...

I look better now, sad to say I was ugly girl and didnt know what to do with myself. But now I get ask out all time, thank goodness I started to see I can be girlie and be me too.

Beruriah said...

That photo is amazing! I spent too long trying to figure out what you'd put into it to make it look like a book.

Misc Momma said...

Like areyoukiddingme said, I get recognized, only I'm not who they think I am. Sadly, and older gentleman once asked me if I was his granddaughter. Because I looked like her, and he hadn't seen her in years. I wished I was for his sake.