Saturday, July 3, 2010

the uncanny

the first time I saw these elderly twins, they had the same hairstyle, wearing the same lipstick, and the same trench-coat and chiffon head-kerchief, except one was all pink, and the other was all green. They were walking quietly, minding their own business, and after passing them by I turned away to stare some more. There was nobody else on the street, and for a while I wondered if perhaps they were a hallucination. Or a dream that I remembered as reality (I do that sometimes). This was three years ago. Then last year I saw them again, on the bus. Again, their get-ups mirrored each other, down to the little redhead dolls dangling from the zippers of their purses. After that I started running into them more often, sometimes on that bus (always on Tuesdays around 1pm), sometimes on the street, and the fact that everyone was passing them by as if not noticing made me doubt my senses every time. Until once, finally, another guy turned his head in amazement as they were getting off the bus.

A few months ago I saw them on the cover of a health magazine. There was an interview with them. That's how I found out that they're local celebrities (which explains somewhat why nobody looked surprised; and also, duh, it's not polite to stare), that they're 84 and have been living together for the last 50 years, that they've always studied then worked at the same places, as seamstresses and then in restaurants. They were never married, and they have a strict schedule that they follow every day. Their names are Jeanne and Marcelle.

None of this subtracts from my amazement each time I run into them. They're like a rupture in the metric flow of being. In case you're beginning to doubt my account (completely understandable), here's a video. You'll see them talking, singing, dancing, doing laundry, and throwing looks of disapproval at a woman in a short skirt. Oh, I used to go to that laundry once upon a time.

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