Friday, July 29, 2011

That old doppleganger of mine

So I’m walking down the street today, on my way to the local shopping center, when a sheriff’s department car, heading in the opposite direction, slows and turns in my direction.

Uh oh, I think.

But then again, I think (more than a little stupidly) that the young deputy driving the car is going to ask me for directions. After all, drivers do stop and ask me for directions every once in a while, and I am glad to oblige, though I sometimes worry that I haven’t give them the right directions and even now they’re still hopelessly wandering around somewhere.

The deputy says, “Louie?”

I tell him I’m not Louie.

He asks me to show him a photo ID.

I comply.

He thanks me and acknowledges that I am not Louie.

I tell him that my father’s name was Louie.

He smiles. A nice, polite kid. (And yes, I’ve reached the age where practically everyone in any kind of uniform is a kid.)

So I go to the shopping center, have some lunch, and am walking down to one of the stores when, out of the corner of my eye, I see another sheriff’s department car heading my way.

A woman’s voice says, “Louie?”

I turn.

The deputy again says, “Louie?”

I put on my very best polite smile and tell her that I am not Louie and that this is the second time I have been mistaken for him.

She doesn’t ask me for photo ID but instead laughs and tells me that I look a lot like Louie.

Too bad for Louie, I tell her, friendly smile still firmly in place.

I go to a store and buy some stuff. Then I decide I need to make a phone call and that I need to find a quiet place where I can make the call.

So I duck into a fairly quiet drugstore and make the call.

Then I leave the drugstore and head down to the shopping center’s bus stop.

As I’m heading there, a third sheriff’s car pulls up alongside me.

A guy says, “Louie?”

I turn and see another smiling young sheriff’s deputy.

Back goes the friendly, polite smile as I tell him that I am not Louie and that this is the third time I’ve been mistaken for him.

As I’m explaining this, a sheriff’s car pulls up alongside this car, driven by the first deputy, who, I presume, was going to tell this guy that I am definitely not Louie.

We all have a laugh over this, and I head to the bus stop.

I don’t know whether they found Louie. Given how relatively laid back they seemed about the matter, my guess is that Louie is some poor soul with a mental illness or some other disability who had wandered away from his home, and his relatives were worried.

If this is so, I really hope they’ve found him.

But then again, there’s always the possibility that Louie is a maniacal criminal mastermind and genius and that the deputies are only pretending to be laid back because they have been warned to be very circumspect because Louie is such a genius that he knows how to make miniature but very potent hand grenades and hide them in his armpits for use at a nanosecond’s notice.

If this is so, I really really hope they’ve found him.

Because as much as I might enjoy travel, I was planning on a quiet weekend.

I have no real desire to spend part of my weekend visiting Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty, much less hanging off either of them while someone is trying to kill me.

And I find myself wishing that I could call up Cary Grant, Robert Cummings, Robert Donat and Henry Fonda so we could all get together and form a Mistaken Identity Support Group.

Thank you for letting me share.