Jan was not with me on this occasion, it was just a few friends and me late at night. We had been sitting at a bar and among other things talked about whether people ever get confused about us.
As we left the bar and walked down the street, I noticed one girl walking in a small group because we were on collision courses. She didn’t seem to see me; she stared past my right ear into oblivion. So I took a step sideways to avoid her and walked on. She stepped in front of me again. I thought, oh no, a drunk girl, here we go. We met and I tried to pass her again.
She said to me, “Are you drunk?”
I thought, “What?! Am I drunk? You are the who’s drunk!” I was the designated driver that night, so I just had colas.
“Don’t you recognize me,” she asked.
“No…?” I said while I flipped through my mind’s album of faces. My friends had stopped and watched our conversation from behind my back. I had never seen that girl before.
“I don’t know you,” I said with confidence. I don’t know anybody called Jill. Now I was sure I didn’t know her.
“Jill, from IBM,” she offered. Jan works at IBM, too. That she might know Jan hadn’t even crossed my mind until now.
“Ahaa” I exclaimed with a smile, “You see, I’m not Jan, I’m Torben. I’m his twin brother.” She was nonplussed, didn’t seem to believe me. Just then, a passing guy said, “Hey, that’s a good pick-up line, I’ve used it!” Now she seemed to believe me even less than before. Thanks, stranger!
“But it’s true, I’m not Jan!” I tried to explain myself, “You can ask him on Monday at work.” By now my friends were giggling quite loudly behind me. This was an unexpected live demo of our chat earlier at the bar. A few people had stopped to watch the end of this.
“I don’t work there anymore,” she said.
“But I’m not Jan. He’s not me. I’m not him. I’m Torben.” I showed her that I happened to be wearing a company jacket, and it didn’t say IBM. She still didn’t seem to believe me.
“Hmm, you have a different style of clothes, too. Well, say hi to him then,” she said as she moved on with her group.
As I walked on with my friends, we laughed for a long time. It was less than half an hour ago that I told about how people mistake us for one another, and now they really got their money’s worth. What better way to describe it than to show it in reality.
… The next time I saw Jan, I told him Jill said hi. “Augh!” he yelled, “Not Jill!” He told me that Jill was a bit of an oddball.
Duh, I hadn’t noticed.