Monday, February 18, 2013

Life in the Glitch in the Matrix

For the last week I've lived the largest glitch in the matrix I've lived thus far. Do you get that? It happens to me lot - it usually lasts a day. Everyone looks familiar. But this one kept going. It started a week ago on the metro - across from me sat an Indian man - familiar. In the doorway was an elderly gent - familiar. But I didn't know them. When I looked closer at the elderly gent he looked even more familiar and he looked back at me as though I was familiar too. Or maybe he just thought it was strange that I kept looking at him. I figured out eventually that he looked like the French version of an Australian guy off an ad. The Indian man could have actually been the guy from the épicerie on the rue Cail. Or maybe I'd just passed him once on the street. But I knew him. But I didn't know him. And so began an entire week of constant double-taking. Everyone familiar, and yet knowing nobody. No real chance in the 10th arrondissement of Paris to bump into an old chum from primary school. And yet there they are - so many people I know but can't name, and some I can - the Russian version of my 6th grade maths teacher in top-to-toe fur, my first best friend grown up and turned fat, French Gotye serving beers at the bar, French Larry David at the next table, that Amanda chick from all those Australian comedy galas in drag on a poster, the female French Gilbert Blythe in the park with her kid; French everyones everywhere, some nameable, most not, all unreachable in some weird way. A familiar place full of familiar people, that are not familiar enough to be familiar. Like a dream.

And then, suddenly it's gone, dropped, and everyone's unfamiliar again.

Does that happen to you? I swear, it's happening to me more and more and I wonder if one day I'll just live it permanently. I wonder if it's my own brain, or if there really is a matrix. Or is everyone just closer-looking to each other than I realise? Like, is there, say 1000 prototype categories that we all sort of fall into. I mean, people always tell me I look like someone they know. So is the familiarity actually real? Maybe to make us feel not so lonely when we go so far away from familiars? A survival thing?

It certainly isn't comforting for me, it makes me feel odd. Especially when the glitch lasts this long. This morning it seemed to stop abruptly when I crossed the Faubourg Poissonnière and a man started yelling at me from a truck. I thought he was leering but I couldn't understand what he was saying so I kept walking and checked if I'd dropped something. And then another man two trucks back started yelling out his window at me too. Was my skirt in my knickers? They kept shouting and pointing at me. Other people in the street turned to look at me, but I still couldn't figure it out. All those faces staring at me, none familiar in any way - I could have been on another planet. I scuffled off to work checking my pockets. Nothing was missing. Except the glitch. I was glad, though it was a bit of a brutal way to be jolted back to the cold unfamiliar light of day.  

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