The Doppelganger Effect

They are young, smart and university educated. They are career-title driven. They love to travel. They love their phones. They love to take selfies with their phones, travelling and looking ‘glam’. They’ve found another that shares the same interest of travel, selfies and looking ‘glam’. They get serious with that person and buy a house together. Then they get really serious, and they get a dog together. They dress the dog up and they all take a selfie together, looking ‘glam’. They send the picture to friends and family as a Christmas card.

Do you know anyone that fits this description?

One day on a whim I purchased a small picture for one of the newest managers in the office. She, like all the newest managers including my boss, is a Millennial. For weeks I would walk by her office and comment on how stark the walls were. “You need a picture or at least a poster,” I would tell her. She would just make excuses about being too busy and maybe after her trip to Europe she would get a frame and put something on the wall. She’s got four bare walls! And no windows!! So, I bought her a picture.

Since this new boss shares the same hallway with two other women of the aforementioned ilk, I bought them both pictures as well, so they would not feel slighted. Two of the managers were easy to pick for, since I do not really know them well, but my boss was difficult. I have more personal knowledge of who she is, learned during our time spent working directly with each other. On that day I settled for a black and white photo of the Empire State building, it wasn’t quite right for her but there was limited selection at the Big Box Store.

A few days later I was in a different Big Box Store and I saw the perfect picture. The picture I had been looking for only a few days previously. The one I should have bought!! The picture spoke to me, “I belong on the bosses wall,” it said. So, I bought it and on my next visit to the office I replaced the first picture with the new one. The black and white Empire State building had been replaced by a picture of multi-coloured houses that line a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was a better representation of my boss because she is not black and white.

My boss reminds me very much of my brother’s daughter. To me they are both living the same life. Note the above description! Identical!! Right down to the dog!!! They’re probably both developing bone-spurs!!! I frequently tell my boss that I think they are somehow connected. The similarities are eerie. The dogs are even the same size!

Recently my niece was visiting my Big City from her Big City on business. She stayed an extra night and came to visit. We caught up over beverages and Bar-B-Q. As the evening wore on, I could not miss the similarities that my niece had with my boss. They don’t look the same and they work for different companies but the lives they lead were so closely mirrored that it was starting to freak me out! Even both their boyfriends had just changed jobs!! In the same month!! I told my niece about my boss and my belief that she and my boss might be the same person. We had all had plenty of beverages when I told her about the picture.

“I love that,” my boss had said when I gave her the picture of the multi-coloured houses on the canal in Denmark. I explained that I had settled when I chose the first picture but I thought this better represented who I thought she was. “Oh, it does,” she had said, “I’ve been there.” She then picked up her phone off her desk and started to scroll through its picture gallery.

She turned her phone so I could see and I found myself starring at a selfie of her and her boyfriend on the bridge over the canal with the multi-coloured houses in the background. The exact same houses that were in the picture I had just put on her wall!! She was wearing a baseball hat because she was having a “bad hair day” she told me. To me it looked more like ‘the celebrity trying not to be recognized look’, mostly because the picture was certainly a ‘glam’ picture. “Look where we are,” it screamed. My boss got up from her desk and insisted we take a selfie with the picture in the background so she could show her boyfriend and others.

As I told my niece this story, she started to scroll through her phone which had been in hand, or close at hand, the entire night. She found what she was looking for and turned the phone for me to see. I was looking at the same picture my boss had shown me on her phone except this time the girl in the baseball cap was my niece and the guy was her boyfriend! The same multi-coloured houses stood brightly in the background!! Same ‘glam’ selfie… different ‘glam’ people!!!

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. These two women, who have no connection to one another, other than me, have walked the same path… literally! Since they do not know each other, it could have been on the same day. They could have been, ‘that other couple’ to each other; on the bridge at the same time!! Taking ‘glam’ selfies!!! I already thought these two were alike, but this was downright spooky!

Even though I would never contact my boss on her weekend, I had to share this information and I sent her my niece’s selfie. Since it was non-work related, if she was busy, she could just ignore the message until Monday. She responded immediately by sending the two selfies she had to me, her with the picture and her on the bridge.

They say we all have a twin somewhere, a doppelganger. Generally, the word is used to describe physical resemblances, but in the case of these two women it applies to their lives. They seem to be living a doppelganger life. Except for their appearance they are the same people. They talk the same, and have the same mannerisms. They have the same complaints about job and life. The regular life, not the ‘glam’ one. The ‘glam’ one is great, but they need a job to fund it so that ‘bites’. They have traveled to the same places and did so at least once at the same time. If they met, I believe they would be friends.

Yes, I believe that we all know people that fit the description at the beginning, these two included. Young people, just starting out and wanting to live life to the fullest. The difference between these two and other Millennials is only in the details. What is strange is the similarities in those details. Are these two, long-lost twin sisters from different misters?? Or are they simply travelling through life as part of a larger collective?? Does every Millennial have ‘glam’ pictures with multi-coloured houses on their phones?? That’s just creepy!!

But wait… doesn’t much of that description also fit us, when we were twenty-something? Self-absorbed, going to crush the world, found the one, moved in together, got a pet… Does that not describe your beginnings?? It does mine! Maybe the only real difference between us and a Millennial, is we were never “GLAM”!!

Note: I do not have permission to publish the pictures I have, so no… they are not here.






1 Comment

  1. // Reply

    If you remember, we used to call these eerie coincidences “Syncronicity” (although I am not sure if that’s how we used to spell the word). That is, they were far too coincidental to be merely coincidences; surely, some grander mystery was at work when they happened.

    And yes, we were the same in our day too (without the selfies, of course). We followed very similar paths–sometimes together, sometimes apart–in pursuit of what we imagined was the good life. The fact that we had to work was also considered a necessary inconvenience.

    So here we are, near the end of our journey (some of us are closer to it than others, of course). And ever since you told me this story the other day, I have been thinking about the millennials: maybe they have the right idea. The fact that they like to travel implies that they realize that the journey is the real destination of our dreams. So they have made it a reality in their daily lives.

    I’m just sayin’ …

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