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Thursday, November 08, 2007 :::

When Awkward Becomes So Much More

There's an employee at my bank who thinks I am someone else. The first few times it happened he would just approach me from afar with a confident walk, waving his hand in the air, and bellow "Hey, man!" with way too much enthusiasm for a casual acquaintance. It would always catch me off guard, and I'd have to look over my shoulder to see if he was in fact talking to someone else standing directly behind me, but there was never anyone else there. He would usually traverse about half of the distance between us before his face would suddenly change and his hand would drop and he would mutter disappointedly, "Oh sorry, man, I thought you were someone else."

This happened way too many times to count. The same scenario acting itself out ad nauseum. Eventually he seemed to restrain himself. Rather than speed-walking in my direction, he simply started to wave at me from behind his counter. But the wave was still accompanied by an enthusiastic "Hey, man!" and the smile was still way too big. Being the polite guy that I am, I always waved back, which probably only helped to perpetuate the problem.

But after a couple years, it got to the ridiculous point where it was happening every time I went to the bank, so I decided that he had finally become aware of his problem, and that this tradition of waving and smiling was just an acknowledgement of his past foolishness. Almost like an inside joke between the two of us. It was as if we had a secret handshake. I became so certain that he was in on the joke that one day I made a goofy wink grin, gun-pointed at him with my index finger, said "Hey man, long time no see!", and followed it up with a laugh so that he knew I was kidding. I got nothing but an awkward smile in return, but I didn't think much of it.

Then today I went to deposit a couple checks. The second I walked in the door I heard "Hey, man!" and I looked up to see him yet again speed-walking in my direction, this time with his hand held out as if he was expecting a shake. At first I thought that maybe he was just taking my previous lame joke one step further and he was really committing to the bit. But this time he didn't stop. He walked right up and I was forced to offer him my hand in return, still unsure if he was pulling my leg. Then he said: "So how's your sister?"

I laughed, hoping this was all a part of our secret in joke. But he just stared back at me. At first I thought he had the best poker face ever, but then it slowly started to dawn on me that I had clearly invented our entire inside-joke-based relationship in my head. I couldn't be sure, so I just said "My sister?" And he said, "Yeah, man, how's she doin'? I ain't seen her in ages!" So I slowly responded, "You know my sister?" His smile faded, his hand released mine, and he took a step back.

"Sorry, man, I thought you were someone else," he said and walked away without even the slightest acknowledgement that this had been happening for YEARS now, dozens upon dozens of times. It kind of made me sad to realize that we weren't the buddies I thought we were. And it makes me insanely curious to see this mysterious fella, who is apparently my exact doppelganger, so that I can know exactly how crazy this bank employee really is.

Next time he waves at me I'm going to give him the finger. He'll wonder why his good ol' pal has turned on him and how such a jerk can have such a cool sister. The word will spread and my doppelganger will get a bad reputation around town. I win. In your face, doppelganger. I'm clearly the better me!

::: posted by dan at 5:49 PM :: [ link ] :: (16) comments Social Bookmark Button

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16 previous comments:

Great story!

By Anonymous Andre Torrez, at 8:40 PM  

Get some headshots of yourself made up, with your name on them but a fake theatrical resume on the back (like, Tom Hanks's off of IMDB), and hand him one every time. Ask him if he's talked to his friend Steven Spielberg yet about the script you sent him. Ask him every time.

By Anonymous Fran with one "N", at 8:51 PM  

My guess is he think's you're gay & has spent two years trying to pick you up.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:18 AM  

I think there are two ways this could play out.

I suspect when you see your sister she's going to ask why you were rude to Ted, her high school boyfriend, who was nice and even let you go with them to see Flight of the Navigator.

The other possibility involves Philip K Dick and ends with an apocalyptic virus being unleashed on the earth.

Go call your sister and let me know if I need to start hoarding water and gasoline.

By Blogger Erik, at 6:48 AM  


By Blogger whaat?, at 7:43 AM  

I just love seeing the word "doppleganger"...Thanks!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 AM  

Maybe he is a "slow" person from a home that volunteers at the bank and now you have been rude to him and he is sad. Thanks for the laughs though Dan!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:51 AM  

Years this has been going on? Wow. What a strange guy.

I once saw a girl jogging down the street that I swore was someone I knew from work. I flagged her down, stopped her. Started talking to her. It wasn't until she started talking that I realized it wasn't her. But it looked just like her. Or perhaps she thought I was creepy and didn't want her to know that she lived nearby, so made a fake voice...

By Blogger Bob, at 2:01 PM  

AWKWARD. I would have switched banks years ago.

By Anonymous june, at 2:03 PM  

I get people I know saying to me, 'hey I saw you at such & such place, at such & such time.' I'm not near the place at the time they say. I tell them it must've been my evil twin.

I would've gone up to him & let him know I wasn't who he thought I was the 2nd time it happened.

By Anonymous August, at 12:06 AM  

Maybe it's the guy that has a rich fantasy life. Maybe he's so lonely that he has developed this crazy relationship with you, where you guys get together every Thursday for a pizza and some beer. One day you brought your sister whos car had died. He drove her home and ended p sitting with her the whole night long, just talking about life. That friendship turned into love. But, as always, it ended poorly. All this, happening in his head, and he almost let it slip to you the other day. Now, of course, you have to die.

By Anonymous Alicia, at 6:25 PM  

Maybe he is buddies with that guy I met at a bar one time and swore was your doppleganger. But I guess not, since I was not only corrected, but repremanded for thinking he looked anything like you.

I did the bank thing for a while, wait until you see him outside the back, and know you know him from somewhere, but can't place it, then he does the big wave, that'll be awkward.

By Anonymous sarah, at 8:03 AM  

The guy next door to us had a stroke at a very young age and he calls me by a different name every week. This week I'm Sharon. Perhaps you're dealing with a simular situation.

By Anonymous Noelle, at 10:16 AM  

Seriously, this could only happen to you, Dan. Seriously.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:58 AM  

You really go inside the bank to deposit checks? The ATM will never mistake you for someone else and you won't have to deal with any people.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:27 PM  

Hey! Why didn't you ask which sister? Now we are complexed to know who this person may actually be. Your sisters are hard to forget you know!

By Anonymous SistaK, at 10:39 AM  

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