Saturday, October 02, 2004

Dopplegangers to the top please.

On top of the Rockies, perched on a summit and surrounded by the great abyss, it's not a really good time to wonder if you and your twin are as close as you ought to be.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a twin? There are a lot of very strange and twisted notions on "twinhood" -- yes I know that isn't a word but it's my blog so it stays -- out there, and maybe in here as well. When we were in school we heard them all, and felt them even more. I can't tell you how many times people pinched one of us to see if the other would yelp.

My sister and I look the most alike when we are seen separately. Strange, eh? It's true, standing next to each other we don't at all look like twins. To be honest, I think when people view twins together they focus on the differences, whereas when viewed separately people try and find the similarities. Yes, I know that's obscure but I didn't make the world I just live in it. Most people think we're sisters and that's about it. That is until we speak. Our voices are what are identical, even we can't tell who is who on an old tape recording. When we are apart, people seem to know instantly that they have met one of us before. You see it coming with a frown and a baffled tilt of the head and gathering of the brows.

Our birth is a bit of a mystery, hidden away in Korea and onionskin, written in Latin and Korean. For example, we have no idea which of us was born first. I guess it seemed unimportant to them at the time. Throughout our childhood I was a couple inches taller, so of course I took this as proof positive that I was older, hence wiser, and always the boss of us. The funny thing is as kids we fought over who was born first. Now we have crossed into our forties, we fight over who is the youngest.

We're oddly different. She is a lefty and I am right-handed. I bowl better left-handed and she bowls better right-handed. She is better at speaking foreign languages, and is in fact fluent in four languages, and I am terrible speaking but learn to read them fairly quickly. I excelled in history and science in high school. She was the math whiz. We both swam on our high school swim team, but we did it flipped: I swam the 100-meter freestyle, she swam the 100-meter backstroke. We both tried diving and lasted one whole day at it. We both ended up in the military, I in the Army and she in the Air Force. We both saw and survived combat, RPGs, Mortar rounds, snipers and ambushes: I was a UN Peacekeeper in Somalia; she was with a rather interesting spooky group in Iraq.

We both are foaming at the mouth fourteen-hour-a-day fly fishers that fish hard and forget to eat when we are on the river. Give us two slimjims, a bottle of fruit punch Gatorade and some cheese sticks and we're good to go. We live in different parts of the country but manage to fish together fairly often, all things considered. This year we managed joint trip up to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and rounded out our fishing by wetting a line Montana and Idaho. We're both happier chasing wild trout in out of the way streams than the big rivers.

I am a noon person, she is a night owl (Note Bene note I honestly admit neither of us are morning people, at least not without coffee.) Our politics and lifestyles are radically different, but we know the world is big enough to survive these common differences.

So as we stood on the summit, my sister holding on to my shoulders for balance as I sort of squated a bit for balance in the wicked wind, I wondered about how close we were as we balanced together at 12,476 feet in the air, I had to conclude we'd do just fine.


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