It’s been said that every one of us has an identical twin, a “doppelganger”, walking amongst us somewhere on the planet. Your replicant could be in the next town or in Abu Dhabi, looking like you, sounding like you and living exactly the way you do here and now.
Lately though I’ve been seeing a variation on the Doppelganger; women that don’t look exactly like my mother but they posses her essence and a lot of her physical characteristics-a “Doppelgang-ette” as it were.
And they are everywhere it seems, in the Malls, downtown, in restaurants, but mostly I see them when I’m in the grocery store. I see little old women wobbling along behind their carts as they push them through the aisles. I don’t know whether their gait is because of bad feet, arthritis, having walked a lifetime of working and caring for others or if (at this stage of life) it’s because of a knee replacement (or two), or from carrying a lifetime of extra weight and worry.
The way these women walk, rolling from side to side as they move forward, reminds me of a popular toy for toddlers that was advertised on television over and over when I was a kid. I see these women and I can’t help but hear part of the jingle in my head, “Weebels wobble but they don’t fall down”-only most of these wobblers need the same medical alert necklace that Miss Cathy wears (Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!) Because unfortunately, unlike the toy- they will fall down.
It doesn’t matter their race or color, they all share the same “old” DNA, a penchant for loose comfortable dresses or elastic waisted pants of a non-porous material and makeup that has evolved from wanting attention in youth to commanding respect in their golden years.
I watch them as they make their way to the cashier to check out and some are pulling out their coupons (as I’ve learned to do) while others look worried as the register totals an amount that may exceed their budget for the week.
I applaud them being self-sufficient, by necessity or design, because they are usually alone, no husband, friend or adult child to reach for something on a top shelf, or to bend waaaay down for something they need but have to decide if it’s worth the effort or not.
A little over a year ago Miss Cathy was one of them, wobbling along, up and down the aisles marking time and making do as her memory started to fail and daily life became harder and harder. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for her to shop; never knowing that when she returned home only to realize that she forgotten what she really went to the store to buy or came home to discover that she’d already purchased the same items just a few days before.
What must she have said to herself when she found that her world was getting smaller and smaller and that within the year she’d soon “choose” to stop driving long distances to visit her son in Virginia or travel to a casino for an afternoon of her beloved game of quarter slots and that the market a mere mile away would be about as far as she would venture from home.
I watch them; the doppelgang-ettes and I wonder, “Who is home waiting for them?” Do they have any maladies and if so, is someone there to care for them? As they drive away do they worry that this may be the day that they get into a car accident or forget the way home? And when they make it safely to their destination is there someone on that end to take in the heavy bags that the clerk wheeled out to her car and placed in the trunk for her?
I see these women and I see Miss Cathy.