Thursday, September 10, 2009

My doppelganger

posted Wed, 28 Jul 2004

Have you googled yourself yet? I am a German biologist who studies wolves in Romania. My best friend Julie from high school works on the Cayuga Watershed project. My other best friend Jackie from high school “says she’s been called to do God’s work at her Washington DC hair salon.” My mother is “Belgian babe.”

I think my mom’s alter ego is the best one. Who wouldn’t want to be a “Belgian babe?” I would try to open the link but I suspect anything with that title will be blocked by my company’s IT department. All the good sites are blocked. If you try to get into one, you get a red flashing screen with a huge hand and the message that this site is verboten and that your trespass has been reported to IT.

One week, when I was trying to find online information about urinary tract infections – did I have one? Did I need to go to a doctor? – I made the list of the top 25 violators in the company. My company has over 100,000 employees! Not all of them have internet access, but enough that I could be justifiably proud of being close to the top.

This week, I have been thwarted in my efforts to buy swimsuits online. The company I usually buy from – The Victor, in Miami – has apparently gone out of business. Their site is down and their phone has been disconnected. So I have been searching for ‘grab bag swimsuits.’

Well. Any site with the word “swimsuit” in the name is blocked! I keep getting the red hand. My boss is probably getting a report right now that I am wasting work time trying to look at women in swimsuits.

Back to google. Have you googled someone and gotten real info? To be more specific, have you googled your old boyfriends from high school? I have and let me tell you, it was a revelation. This guy – we’ll call him Engelbert for reasons that will become clear – never seemed to be too attracted to me even though he would come over to my house and drive me to school. The driving to school was a huge deal. We lived in the Panama Canal Zone. You couldn’t get a driver’s license until you were 17, but Engelbert, who was 16, had his license before his family moved to Howard AFB. He also had a car, which was also rare, as the military would not pay to transport more than one car per family, so that meant his parents had paid to have his car brought along.

The point is that it was a huge status thing for me to arrive at school in a car rather than on the bus. But that car was never used for anything like going to the Galliard Cut to go necking. Even when I was at his house watching videos (another huge thing in 1979), we didn’t even hold hands. I don’t think Engelbert kissed me more than twice in the few months we ‘dated.’ He broke up with me right before the Christmas dance. Or I guess he broke up with me. He didn’t ask me to the dance, which I took as a sign that we weren’t dating.

Until I googled him, I assumed that the reason Engelbert hadn’t shown more interest in a physical relationship with me was because I was just not attractive. I was a nerd in high school and had been the fat chick with glasses, so there was no doubt in my mind that I was the reason he didn’t want to kiss me. I wasn’t kissable. I was ugly. I repelled him.

I even ran into Engelbert and his parents in 1990 in Seattle. We went to dinner together that night. His parents were thrilled to see me – they had always liked me – and I had a great evening with them. But Engelbert was distant the whole time, confirming my belief that he found me completely unappealing. He did, however, apologize for not taking me to the dance. (After I mentioned it to him. Accusingly.)

Then I googled him. There are not that many men named Engelbert who are swimmers (as my Engelbert was) who are pilots (as my Engelbert became) and who live in Austin (as my Engelbert did).

He was gay! He had been engaged when I saw him in Seattle, but apparently had divorced. The website I found was a place that gay athletes posted. He had just come out and was pretty happy about it. But not half as happy as I was! It had never been me!

And then I went to my high school 20 year reunion, where the captain of the football flirted with me. I had to re-write my entire history.

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