The Upper West Side Twin

My husband, the high-tech high priest, discovered some new app on his Iphone and sent an invitation to me, our daughter and our son to use it.  It’s called Latitude and it’s some kind of espionage-like device that tells you where the other person — or his or her Iphone — is.

Our daughter called it “creepy,” but signed up, anyway.  My husband subsequently reported that she was in Palo Alto, California, where she lives — like this was some kind of bigtime revelation.

Then he started hounding me to get on Latitude, too.  “Look at it this way,” he said.  “If your phone gets stolen, we’ll know where the thief is.”

Oh, brother.  I always love ideas like this that begin with a “what if” premise and end up with a felony.  But anyway, I gave him my phone so he could sign me up himself, since I’m not interested in new apps.  After all, I hardly ever use the apps I’ve already got, so why would I want to sign up for any new ones?  Anyway, he started pawing around my Iphone, complaining how it was out-of-date and casting aspersions on me as an Iphone owner.  This — along with a total loss of privacy — is what I get when he starts fretting over my high-tech devices.  I should know better by now.

Still, I was kind of interested in getting Latitude for at least one reason: My husband, as it turns out, seems to have a twin on the Upper West Side.

(I should point out, first, that I happen to know something about twins.  My father and aunt were twins, as were my great-aunts.  In fact, my family has a history of naming twins in the most egregious way possible.  All I can say is it’s a good thing my great aunts were born in Oklahoma, instead of Texas.)

But back to the Upper West Side twin.  I saw him the first time when I was walking to meet my husband at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble.  I was about a block away from the store when I saw my husband leaving it.  Which didn’t make sense, since we were supposed to meet at the store.  I went inside and whiled away the time, which I can always do quite easily in a bookstore.  Eventually, I went upstairs, where I found my husband in the psychology section.

He’d been there the entire time, he insisted.  No, he hadn’t left the store earlier.

Not a big deal.  I forgot it till a few days later, when I left our apartment to walk to the grocery store.  My husband was sitting at his desk, working, when I left.

Which made it all the crazier when I saw “him” standing at a nearby stoplight.  The posture, the clothes, the hairline, the coloring — all were so familiar to me I had to stop myself from calling out to him.  But I knew that, logically, it couldn’t be my husband — who was several yards behind me, on the second floor, working at a desk.

“You’ve got a twin around here, somewhere,” I told my husband later.  “Believe me, it’s such a close resemblance, it’s uncanny.”

“I didn’t know there were two such great-looking guys on the Upper West Side,” he said.

Since the last sighting, I haven’t seen the twin again.  If I do, though, I might suggest he get an app for his Iphone.  “This is not your husband!” the app would say.  “Please do not nag, criticize or boss around.  Some things should be saved for the sanctity of marriage.”

(Copyright 2009 by Ruth Pennebaker)

6 comments… add one
  • Cindy A Link

    Funny, but my husband had similar “if you lose your phone” GPS reasoning when we went to get new phones a few weeks ago. My young daughter hated the idea but was trapped. However, I said, “LOOK! ONE WITH A TV!” And no freaking GPS system. So now I have a clunky phone with a TV I rarely watch, but can come and go incognito.  Too bad I never go any place interesting…

  • Winston Link

    Confidentially speaking, with all those millions of people in NYC, what are the statistical chances of spotting your husband’s “twin” and in the near vicinity of where you and he are presently living and otherwise hanging out? I think what you have seen is no coincidence at all.  What you’ve seen is a deliberate “person” designed to replace your husband.  And you have happened to twice catch that “twin” doing some advance scouting expeditions into your lives.  My dear, you have seen a pod person– more specifically, an iPod person.  Only known of, and whispered about, by a few of us national geniuses, it’s part of a person-replacement phenomena which first began occurring in th D.C. area in the late 1980s, and has more recently spread northward.  Some knowing parties believe Steve Jobs and Walt Disney’s legacy of animatronics are at the root of the puzzling phenomena.  As a first precaution, try never to leave your husband alone.  And be leery of ever walking ahead of your husband.  One day you and he may take a subway en route to a musical extravaganza, say, and you inadvertently step ahead of him upon exiting the doorway.  Then Bam!  A large apple-shaped vessel suddenly and momentarily hovers over the platform and in a blink exchanges your husband with the iPod duplicate right behind your back.  Life may become a bit more eerie for you from there on.  On the chance you may have to leave your husband alone at any time, I suggest that you slip a sedative into a drink for your husband ASAP, and when you are certain he is in a deep sleep, draw a wee intricate “birthmark” with India ink into the hairline at the base of his neck.  Then you’ll readily have a way of verifying the switch whenever it should occur, and take appropriate steps.   Psychologists are going to be needed to fill an integral role in the “Plan,” so I hear.  In the meantime, enjoy the city… and… pleasant dreams!

  • ruthpennebaker Link

    Winston, I always try to dutifully walk several steps behind my husband and will keep a close watch.

    Cindy, what do you mean you never go anyplace interesting?  I thought you went to rodeos.  And you’re coming to NYC, right?


  • Cindy A Link

    HOPE to be coming to NYC anyway.   I figure if I send a query out once a month, I should be coming in 2042 to meet my new agent.

    I think Winston’s onto something with that whole body snatcher thing.  Just too coincidental. When your hubby can’t remember the names of your most annoying relatives, be scared.

  • Oh, dear. I nearly choked from laughing. Both at the twin and the app, but also the twin naming thing. Wow! I cannot imagine being named Homa.

  • Can’t wait to hear about the next time you run into this person.  It would be fun to see a photo of him beside your husband …

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