Meeting Me for the First Time

Prior to our meeting, I looked over some of the photos again on Flickr – partly because I was curious who I’d be meeting, and partly because I wanted to check again… to see how much we *really* looked alike.

I looked over some of Vlada’s photos, and some of Ko’s photos as well (Ben, who’s been the key pointperson in organizing this meeting, sent me the link to Ko’s images).

And I saw that this was his latest post. LOL! Awesome.

I guess that Thunderdome at the Mart really was an omen, after all.

I felt a bit weird, browsing through a complete stranger’s images… but I found out later on that Ko spent a good chunk of time, looking over my blog. So it turns out both of us were trying to size one another up.

Fast forward to 10PM. Liz and I got talking for a while, and didn’t notice the time zip by. On checking my phone, I saw a few missed messages. After calling, I find that Ko is at Cleo’s (Chicago and Damen), not too far from where Liz and I are at. And so we throw our shoes on, I grab my camera… and it’s off to meet my dopplegänger in the flesh.

On walking over there, I was pretty excited. This was, after all, a pretty singular opportunity. I wasn’t sure though, how much we truly looked alike – some photos, there were a lot of differences; but in a few, the resemblances were a little too similar for comfort.

Along the way, I told Liz about how I first heard about Dopplegängers, and how the notion of a “ghostly double” actually did freak me out a lot, as a kid. My grandfather (on my dad’s side) used to have a ton of books. And when I visited as a child, I’d thumb through a lot of them. One of the books I happend across was one of those Time-Life “Mysteries of Nature” or some such thing – folklore, legends, the unexplained. Out of everything I read, spontaneous combustion and dopplegängers caught my imagination. And it’s something I’ve had, in the back of my head, ever since.

Point in case this poem I wrote, back in grad school, called… appropriately, “Dopplegänger.” Now, keep in mind this is an old poem, and a bad one at that. Looking back, I’m not entirely sure myself what the hell the ending means. I offer it up less as a sample of my writing and more as an example of how I’ve been fascinated with dopplegängers for a while, now.

This poem appeared online, maybe five or six years ago. Check it out here.

Outside of Cleo’s, I actually got a bit nervous. Though I didn’t think we’d actually cancel each other out (the rumor is that if you meet your double and actually make physical contact – you both vanish, and cease to exist), I have to say the tiniest percentage of my mind was a little paranoid about it.

The good news: we didn’t cancel each other out.

Standing at the bar waiting for drinks, I looked over and saw Vlada staring at me. We introduced one another, and next thing I knew – Ko was standing next to us. We had a few brief glances, and fell in to talking about how strange it was for us to meet. We both had the same thought – wondering if we were, indeed, lookalikes… or if we were just two asian dudes who happened to have long hair.

We ended up getting drinks, and soonafter – we started taking pictures. Ko was incredibly nice, and easy to talk to. And I mean come on – of course it’s easy to talk to someone as good looking as that. C’mon!

Turns out that Ko’s leaving town for good on Sunday morning. Leaving for Los Angeles, in fact. So it’s great timing that we were able to meet up, and I’m happy we got a chance to hang out for a few drinks and take some photos.

Speaking no evil. And since I have my glasses off, I’m seeing little of anything, evil or otherwise.

This is one of the more disturbing images of the evening, where the similarities were a little uncanny. Liz and Ko (who has my glasses on).

This is pretty good too.

After a quick drink, the four of us jumped ship and headed over to Clubfoot. On the way, I learned a bit more about both Ko and Vlada. I find it cool that they’re both industrial designers, as I worked with a few ID’s at my old job, and always found that line of work fascinating. You never end up looking at the world quite the same, after talking to someone who’s an industrial designer.

Here’s a pic of Ko, at Clubfoot.

Justin (with a fresh haircut) pops by to join us for a drink (and to check out my double).

Several months ago, Bryan came into the office and told us he had seen dopplegängers for both me and Justin. He said the two guys he saw looked just like us, and were talking to one another. He thought it was us at first, but on closer inspection realized it wasn’t – he said the whole thing freaked him out a lot.

We discussed this tonight, and my best guess is that Bryan actually saw Ko talking to someone else. Ko and I were trying to figure out which of his friends might be Justin’s double.

Vlada and Ko, distracted by something up in the ceiling.

Vlada and Ko – two random strangers who happened to be really cool with random strangers calling them up, and inviting them out for drinks.

More photos! Ko and I joked about making out with one another, since it was sort of be like making out with yourself. And really – how can one resist such a handsome guy?

Funny thing was that the moment I put my hair in a ponytail, Ko’s reaction to our visual similarities increased. He said that everytime I smiled, it sort of freaked him out.

Ko and me. Me and Ko.

Happy. Sad.

Sad. Happy.

Vlada, taking pics from above.

Really, tonight was quite the experience. I got to hang out with my “double,” and had a blast. I felt really lucky to have caught Ko right before he left, and I’m flatt
ered that he and Vlada chose to spend part of their last weekend together, hanging out with a complete stranger.

Tonight was a little silly and a little awesome, all rolled into one. How often do you get to meet up with complete strangers, and just hang out. Oh, and such good looking company, to boot.

I had a great time, and I hope Ko and Vlada did as well. I’m sure they’ve got some more photos of the evening, so if you’re interested in additional photos, check out their pages:

Ko’s photographs
Vlada’s photographs

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