Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Marlborough Man...

Ended up in Marlborough this evening: a handsome town with a broad main street (like a Wiltshire version of Bedale). As soon as I parked, I met the eye of a guy who gave me a withering look… like I was somebody he knew who owed him money. Thirty seconds later, a woman stopped me and asked “Ian?” “Sorry, no”, I said. “It must be the sunglasses”, she said.

I used to have a doppelganger when I lived in Peterborough. He was called Roger and, to judge from peoples’ astonishment, Roger and I were practically identical… except he seemed to be more popular than me. “Hi Roger”, some guy would say, clapping me on the back, “let me buy you a beer”. A couple of times a week, for about a year, I was mistaken for Roger, usually in one Peterborough pub or another. It was no great privation; I was just curious to meet him. My questions were batted away. “Oh, Roger comes in here a lot” or “I thought he’d be here this evening”, or, more unnervingly, “He was here ten minutes ago”.

With my history of poor mental health, I did start to get rather paranoid. Finally I shaved my beard off. That should do the trick, I thought. Next night, in the pub, some bloke gives me a friendly punch in the ribs. “Hi Rog”, he said, “you’ve shaved your beard off!” I can’t remember how it all ended. Maybe Roger left Peterborough before I did… or maybe Roger and I were one and the same… and my sanity was even more precarious than I imagined…

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