Tuesday, March 29, 2005

on being a twin

my twin brother Dan with Gilles Posted by Hello

Whenever it comes up in conversation that I have an identical twin brother, I notice people looking at me strangely, like they are trying to fit me into a new mold. Naturally, my twin and I must live in bunk beds and wear matching outfits every day, when we're not pulling off a big switch-o-change-o scheme to ace the math quiz or get our parents back together. Then again, based on our geographical distance and my cell phone records, you might easily conclude that we hate eachother's guts. I spent almost the whole summer living with Dan in LA, and we spent most of the time pretending that the other wasn't there - the summer actually brought me closer to Gilles, who you see in the picture above, than it did to Dan.

The reality of being a twin, for me at least, is pretty complicated. It's a little like having constant access to live video footage and psychological profiles of yourself - interesting sometimes, and a nice resource to have, but a bit much to take all the time. That's why when we're around each other, I think, we can be almost cold to one another. And yet, there are moments when we connect and understand eachother so completely, I feel, that I can tell him anything. And conversely, he's told me stories from his life that I instantly recognized in my own - only the characters were different, it seemed, the situations and emotions were exactly the same!

When we were little kids, one night my sister Zoe had to finish a science project for school, and decided at the last minute she would do a twin study, testing our telekinetic and esp abilities. The result was absolutely ridiculous, which is why we've never let her forget about it - some day we need to post it on the web! She asked one of us to think of a number, and the other one invariably thought of a different number, which she explained by saying their shapes were similar. I'm pretty sure we can't pass numbers back and forth, and I have never felt his pain or anything; still, in a very real sense, Dan is the closest person to me in the world. I'm still learning what it means to have a relationship with my genetic duplicate.

According to mapquest.com, Dan and I live 2,744 miles from one another, which is about 42 hours if you're driving. Bring carrots.

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