(author’s note: so I’ve been trying to put something up here every day, but yesterday didn’t quite work out. I had stuff to write, but not the energy to do so. So this is yesterday’s post, a story I started writing a few months ago and never got around to finishing. The beginning *almost* stands alone as a story, but there’s definitely more I want to write before I consider this “complete.”)
<Whoa, is that Wolf Blitzer?> Someone else’s stray thought hits me like a missile, piercing my skull from the outside and bouncing erratically through my brain tissue. In the last few weeks I’ve learned to hate Wolf Blitzer.
<Holy crap, it’s Wolf Blitzer!> Another voice in my brain assaults me as my blood pressure goes up and I try to bury my head further into the shelter of my coat collar. I don’t really care that people mistake me for him. I’ve been getting ‘hey, you look like Wolf Blitzer’ every so often for twenty years now. At parties, meeting new people. they’d go ‘hey, you know who you remind me of?’ and I’d respond ‘yeah, I know, Wolf Blitzer.” And that would be the end.
But that was before.
That first day back in October, I guess I didn’t even notice it when I woke up. It apparently only happens with new people, and only their first thought that’s directed at me. So when I said good morning to the lady in apartment 7G, nothing happened. And when I waved at the security guard by the door, nothing happened. But then I stepped out of my building and onto a busy sidewalk, suddenly I was hearing every first thought people had about me.
And every single one was some form of “man, that guy looks like Wolf Blitzer.” It drove me insane. Even when I got to the safety of my office, I was on edge all day. I guess I’ve been on edge every day since it started.
I haven’t told anybody yet. I mean, I’ve tried. People think it’s a joke. I think I’d say the same thing in their position.
“Oh, you can hear people’s thoughts? So what are people thinking?”
“Everyone thinks that I look like Wolf Blitzer.”
And then they laugh. “Of course they do!” Like I’m trying to poke fun at myself.
It wouldn’t be so bad if maybe I lived in a small town where I didn’t see new people all that often, but I live and work in Manhattan. Even if I knew everyone else who lived and worked on this island, there would still be enough tourists here on a daily basis to make my life hell. I know, because I can usually tell the tourists apart.
<That must be Wolf Blitzer!>
There’s one. A woman in her twenties walks up to me, looks at me closely, then goes back to join a group of other women.
<Hey, he kinda does look like Wolf Blitzer.>
<I knew Wolf Blitzer wouldn’t be wearing a coat like that.>
<The beard’s all wrong for Wolf Blitzer anyway.>
And then they move on to something else, I guess. That’s happened a few times. It’s probably happened all my adult life, and I just never noticed until I started getting mental warning shots.
I sigh, dig my hands deeper into my coat pocket, and walk through the door to my building. Solace.