In which our intrepid hero discovers that the surreal and the real too often intersect.

This morning, I found a decidedly noncommittal bounce message from a friend’s email server in my intray, so I gave her a call to follow it up. During the handshake (the verbal crap that precedes the meat of a conversation), she apologised for not saying hi when she saw me on the train this morning.

Minor problem: she gets on at her local station and travels sixteen or so stations towards the city. I, on the other hand, get on at my local station and travel six stations away from the city. Not only were we going in opposite directions, but on completely different train lines.

Now, this may just seem like a simple case of mistaken identity, but it actually happens every few months. People report seeing me everywhere. To cite one case, when I was at uni, a friend’s brother (also at my alma mater) used to drink with an American Dave doppleganger who was on student exchange. Two other friends corroborated this; I never got to meet the guy.

Stranger still, though, I once caught a bus past Sydney Uni and spotted a guy who looked—and acted—exactly like I had, five years previously. I didn’t confront him; after all, I know how I’d react if my double walked up to me and said, "Hi, I’m you in five years’ time. You still suck."

My next call was to ask a friend in an MP’s office to look something up for me. I was speechless when he told me that Hunter S Thompson had shot himself. Hunter was God. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be Hunter.

Later on, I left work and walked up the road to catch a bus to the train station. Soon afterwards, one rolled up, the words SORRY NOT IN SERVICE emblazoned across its front. The driver gave me a free ride, and as he drove, told me that whilst the bus company was supposed to run a service on that timeslot, it’s not listed on timetables, and I was the first person in over a year that he’d picked up.

I was a passenger on a bus service that officially did not exist. Hunter S Thompson was dead. And doppelgangers were on the loose, pretending to be me. This did not bode well.

When I finally made it home, an hour or so later, I sat down in front of the TV with a tomato juice and a Findus MRE and tried to wind down. I only get Channel 7 with decent reception, so Channel 7 it was, and The Great Outdoors was playing a story on the Serengeti. As one zebra stared out from the screen, a caption appeared: "I’m going to chop you into little bits."

It felt like that scene in Go. The one with the cat.

It turned out to be a promo for Desperate Housewives. With nothing better to watch, I put Walking with Dinosaurs on. As I type this, a pack of tiny coelophysis attack a lone, injured postosuchus: "The great carnivore’s strength fails… They eat her from the inside out."

I missed the weather forecast this morning; I’m sure it would’ve said something like: "Sydney, 25, humid with a chance of rain, foul omens all afternoon."

I knew I should’ve stayed in bed this morning.

Advertisements