Archive for March 22nd, 2004



For some reason, all of the gas stations and convenience stores in this region have names that sound like adult bookstores and/or porn shops. Consider, for example, the Kum N Go. Or the Pump N Stuff. Or the Pump N Pak, for that matter. As well as the Shop EZ (which most locals refer to as the Shop Sleazy, where I occasionally, and always against better judgment, can actually purchase a Big Gulp Cappuccino so that I can spend the next twelve hours twitching, sweating, and reading literary submissions really, really, really fast). Taken in this context, even the more innocuously-named businesses such as Cork N Bottle, Triple Time Rudy’s, or Kadoo Express begin to take on the potential for a vaguely lurid and seamy undertone.

Interestingly enough, it seems that I actually have a doppelganger in town. Not only that, but apparently my doppelganger hangs out at the Pump N Stuff on Main and Forest. She doesn’t appear to work there, from what I’ve gathered . . . she just goes there to, well . . . hang out. Sometimes complete strangers will come up to me, do a double take, and say something along the lines of, “Hey, weren’t you hanging out at the Pump N Stuff yesterday afternoon?”

I believe that my doppelganger must be a Native American (or a mixed-race Native American) woman, because occasionally, a truck full of American Indians I don’t know will enthusiastically start waving at me when I’m walking down the street. And one day a complete stranger, a middle-aged American Indian man, wandered past my office, looked in and did a double take . . . then wandered into my office, stared at me some more in bewilderment, and cryptically said, “Must be moving up in the world.” (I always wave back with equal enthusiasm, and told the stranger in my office that yes, I supposed I was.)

Race relations in this part of the country can be quite tense at times, and there is unfortunately a lot of bigotry toward the Native Americans. There is a certain look that some people reserve for the Native Americans, when they pass them on the street, or in the Pamida, or serve them at the convenience store. It’s a contemptuous, squinch-eyed look, and it’s chock full of hatred and spite. I know because I’ve seen it happen. I know because with my dark hair and mixed-race Asian features I’ve been occasionally mistaken for mixed-race Native, and I’ve received that look once or twice myself.

I hope that my doppelganger doesn’t have to put up with that look all the time and that if she does, she doesn’t find her reflection, her sense of self, in those mean-spirited, narrow-minded, ugly faces. I hope she tells them to fuck off. Sometimes I fantasize that she has a nice life — a kind of life I won’t have — with fat, brown-eyed babies. Sometimes I fantasize that she’s a real badass . . . cool and fun and wild.

Whoever she is, I wish her well.

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