My Doppelganger

Title: My Existential Angst

I’m on the tram sweating audibly into a small puddle on the floor. I am capable of sweating in biblical proportions and pretty soon I expect to see pairs of animals running alongside the tram. In the hopes of distracting myself from the misery caused by traveling through a steaming hot city in a metal box with no shade in sight, I am looking at the faces of pedestrians. Happy, cool pedestrians.

Then I see a guy I know as an acquaintance. He’s the husband of another acquaintance, a nice enough chap. He’s short and brown-haired, he’s stocky. He is swinging his arms as he huffs along down the street in the determined yet stuttered stride of the short-legged. It then dawns on me that he looks exactly like me. He is my Doppelganger. This troubles me.

Like many men, I consider myself far better looking than is evidential in the aesthetics of my biological makeup. This guy is OK looking, but he’s not exactly handsome. Reason states that if I am his Doppelganger and he’s not handsome, well, guess what? I am seeing what everyone else is seeing. A short, stocky dude chugging down the road like a Hobbit heading towards a tavern. And if that’s what we all see when he’s walking down the road, that’s what they all see when I’m walking down the road.

As a side issue, this damages my (I think reasonable) perception of my life as a movie. Let’s be honest, people. We all do it. We have a voice over bespeaking thusly of drama to come or just come above an Ennio Morricone soundtrack. And why not? Our lives are essentially movies, aren’t they? A mix of cringe and romantic comedies, moments of erotica, drama, adventure, and horror, interrupting the 97.3% of our lives that encompasses watching Frasier, scrolling Facebook, and asking people what they want to do that night.

But the real issue is that I am getting a glimpse of what strangers see when they see me. We usually don’t apply dimensions or develop a personality for someone we see walking down the street. I don’t think about what their friends like about them or if they are reliable or not. If I notice them at all, I make a very hasty judgment usually based on how good-looking they are and depending on the outcome of that, I decide whether or not to imagine them in their underpants. Now I am getting that unbiased view of myself. Remove the sense of humor and the personality, and this is physically what others see. And I definitely don’t want to picture him (me, us) in his (my, our) underpants. It’s like being shown a picture of myself drunk at a party. The horror.

I careen towards a bright side by joking that I might hop off  the tram and suggest to my Doppelganger that we tramp off to a pub in Middle Earth. It’s almost time for elevenses. I come out of my funk to realize that I am almost at school and I am cooler. So aside from ten minutes of a crippling existential angst that threatened to send me into a desperate spiral of self loathing, I have stopped sweating. I’m counting this as a win.

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