I walked into my normal coffee shop this evening and the barista takes one look at me and shouts out my order before I even get to the counter. There I am standing, a bit in awe, contemplating how often I actually frequent this shop. That's when I realize the order she shouted out is similar to mine but not how I like it. Then I notice that I rarely ever see that barista and wonder how she would know what I order. I speak up and make my changes to the order and she looks up at me. "Oh, you're not who I thought you were," she says, "you look exactly like another guy who comes in here. You two could be brothers." I pipe up, "yeah, but I'm probably better looking than him." That's when another barista behind the counter just looks at me and her face tells me I'm wrong.
I can't count the number of times I've been mistaken for someone else. How about the time I went out for a walk and a van pulls over (I immediately think of the crazy scenarios involving vans and strangers on the side of the road)? The driver gets out with a huge smile on his face, makes his way towards me and stops about five feet before reaching me, no longer smiling. He starts to laugh because he thought I was a close friend of his. It's all cleared up with a hand shake and he climbs into his van and is on his way. Now, this guy was way older than me and I wondered how old I must have looked in order for this guy to think I was his friend. If he's hanging out with people my age, he's definitely a creep, but his getting out of the van pretty much solidified that thought in my head.
So, how many times have we done this ourselves? We're out and about and come across someone we think is a friend. If you're me/a creeper, you follow the person for a little to make sure that your suspicions are correct. Sometimes you'll text the person to see if they check their phone. 9 times out of 10, I won't approach the person. I'll just let it go by and bring up the "encounter" the next time I see that person, ignoring their advice of approaching them next time. I don't care how sure I am, if there's a shred of doubt it's not you, I'm not saying anything. But, I have started to walk close by just in case, though.
What I wonder is if I actually look like these people. There was only one time I actually thought I was in a picture with a group of people I had never met in my entire life. It was during the silver age of Myspace and I stumbled across someone's profile. In their pictures was a shot of a guy who I could have used as a double had I been born a Hussein. I shared the pictures with friends and even they were convinced that this guy was me.
But my favorite story is about how I came to work for Urban Outfitters. It had been just a week or two since I moved to Denver and I was in need of some cash. I've come to accept the fact that I wouldn't make much money if I were to sell my body on the corner. So I did the next best thing; I found out where people I knew worked and asked if they were hiring. After getting a call to come in for an interview, I sat down with a manager and I noticed him staring at me and sometimes laughing. As I filled out some paperwork, another employee sat down next to me and struck up a conversation. He was laughing at times also. After a few weeks of being there, they came clean as to why I was actually hired. Apparently I looked and sounded exactly like someone they all loved who had left the store a few months before I arrived. There was even a test to prove this theory.
This guy's ex-girlfriend walked into the store and the same co-worker who sat next to me while I filled out paperwork told her to shut her eyes. He got me and told me to say hi to her. There I was, standing in front of a girl whose eyes were closed, being told to speak to her. It was a little weird, but when she heard my voice, her eyes shot wide open and she couldn't believe I wasn't him. We looked so alike that it took her a second to realize I wasn't actually her ex-boyfriend. I stood there hoping their relationship ended on a good note and that she wouldn't attack me.
There are plenty of other stories like these; ask me the next time you see me and we'll swap some 'gang' stories. Just make sure it's actually me.