Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hey! You remind me of a girl that I once knew...

First things first, you’ll recognize that the blog has a new look. Our new design is courtesy of my good friend from high school. He’s into graphic design and all that jazz. I told him I wanted a new look and he got to work, showed me a few mockups and this was our final choice. What do you think? I’m really digging the little picture of the girl with the flipped hair. In college, I wore my hair in a flip, like, everyday, so when I first saw the new page, I fell in love. Thanks, buddy, for all your hard work. He’s going to keep playing around with things, so the layout might change over the course of the next couple of months, but… we’ll see. I like things the way that they are, but I’m open to new ideas if he happens to come up with something better.

So, I disappeared for awhile. I think I’m back now, but who the hell knows. I’m actually tired of making promises that I can’t keep, and I figure that you’re probably tired of hearing my lame-o excuses, so let’s just agree that I’m wack for staying away for so long and then keep it moving.

On to the real topic.

Try to describe my physical appearance. Go ahead… try. Those of you who know me would probably say that I'm short… thick/chubby/fluffy… brown skin, brown hair, brown eyes… pretty non-descript. There's nothing more that could really be said… what I outlined above pretty much sums me up. There is nothing striking about me. In fact, I think that if you tried to "describe" me to someone who's never seen me before, Your description could probably apply to just about every brown girl in the universe.

I'm pretty regular. And I guess that explains why I have the most familiar face - if not in the world, then certainly in the Washington Metropolitan area. I can't go anywhere without people either thinking that I'm someone else or comparing me to someone I know. On my first day at the new job, one of the admins stopped me in the corridor to ask me if I was related to some family that lived in her neighborhood because I "look exactly like their youngest daughter". I'm sure this is a perfectly nice family, but I'm definitely am NOT related to these people.

I'll be standing in line at the deli during my lunch break and the guy who spreads the mustard will tell me I look exactly like his cousin or his ex-girlfriend. Yesterday, I went to pick up Sister Souljah's new book and as I walked from Barnes & Noble to my office building, I ran into a group of older homeless men who were sitting on a bench along E Street. One of them calls out, "Hey girl! You look like this woman I knew once." I couldn't even be mad. I had to laugh. It was a real trip. Lol! I'm thinking do I really look like a woman you "once knew". Really?

So, yeah… the familiarity thing was getting to be a tad bit bothersome. Although, it has also worked to my advantage a few times. A couple years ago, VH1 had this show called "Divas Live". I never watched the show, so I'm not 100% sure about the premise of the show. But what I do know is that apparently there was a contestant on the show who looked like me and she was beating the shit out of all the other contestants! Well, one weekend while this show was on the air, my girlfriends and I went to our favorite late night eats spot in Adams Morgan. The very gay, but very cool manager of the spot came over to our table with a starstruck look in his eyes and immediately swooped down on me, asking breathily, "Are you the girl from that VH1 show?”

My face reflected my genuine confusion. “Which VH1 show?” I asked.

“Divas Live!” he said. “I love that show!” At this point, he actually starts fanning himself as though the thought of me being this girl in the flesh was just too much for his body to take. It was as if he had officially overloaded his circuits at the mere thought. LOL!

“Um… no. That is not me,” I sadly informed him.

He paused for a second and tilted his head with a puzzled look. I’m certain that for a second he thought I was lying about my identity. He was positive that I was this woman.

After a minute or so of silent contemplation, he decided that he believed me.

“Well, you might not be her,” he said apologetically, “but I am happy that you’re here, honey. You are just adorable!”

I was flattered. I’ll take a compliment no matter who’s giving them out. And, from there, I had a genuine friend for life. Nelson (that was his name) always hooked my friends and I up from that moment on. Whenever we wanted a table in that particular spot, we’d ask for him. He would float through the crowd and shower us with air kisses and the next thing you know, we’d be seated with a minimal wait time even during on the busy nights… and there would almost always be a discount applied to our bill. Not bad for just resembling a “celebrity”.

The funniest part about it all was when I was getting rung up at the cash register at work and the cashier said, “Did anyone tell you that you look just like the girl on the VH1 “Divas...”

“Yes,” I cut her off mid-sentence. “I have heard that before.”

Finally, I decided that I better look up this person so that I could see if there was really any resemblance. I was SO disappointed when I saw her. No disrespect to this woman, but I don’t feel that I resemble her at all. But, hey, if it gets me prime seating at my favorite restaurant and a discount on my food and drinks, then who am I to question?
One day, I was standing in the line at the pharmacy picking up some medication for my grandmother and this older gentleman who was also standing in line was staring intently at my face. I got to the counter and picked up the medicine and was heading back out to the car, when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and it was the old man from the pharmacy line. He asked me my name and I told him. Then, he asked me if I was Haitian. That was the first time I'd gotten that. I've been asked if I am Ethiopian, Dominican, and Panamanian, but never Haitian. I told him that I’m not.

"Why do you ask?" I said.

He told me that I reminded him of a woman named Marie Claudette that was his "friend" in high school. I put the word friend in quotation marks because while he described their friendship as platonic, he had a wistful look in his eyes that suggested there may have been more to their relationship (maybe it was one-sided… who knows?). I wondered how he thought that I could be someone he went to high school with. My mother probably wasn't even born when he was in high school – so surely I couldn’t have been! Maybe he thought I could be Marie Claudette's granddaughter or something.

Well, the old dude looked so hopeful that I might BE Marie Claudette or maybe at least related to her and so hopeful that they might be reunited, it hurt me to have to tell him that I didn't know her at all. He proceeded to tell me a few stories about Miss Marie and I could see that she was a character (as am I!) and I could also tell that this man cared for her deeply. His eyes danced as he described her and he chuckled a few times... It came out sounding more like a giggle, which was disarming coming from a man of his age.

As much as I enjoyed talking to him, I wrapped up our conversation and he ended it by saying, "Marie Claudette was a beautiful person both inside and out. Even if you don't know her, I can tell that you're a lot like her." And he smiled a very vibrant smile and wished me well. It was a touching moment. Usually, I'm bored with people who mistake me for someone else, but this particular moment, I was glad that I was able to take this man back to a happy time in his life.

I guess that I’ll continue to try to reap the benefits of my familiar face. Although, it could get to be a problem if someone thinks I remind them of a person that they don’t particularly care for.

Until then, whenever someone says, “Hey, you look just like…”, I’ll just smile, graciously accept any compliments, explain who I REALLY am, and move on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a cute story! You ARE like Marie Claudette since she was beautiful inside and out . . . that's how I'd describe you, Lovely Brown Girl :)