Every time I try to refill prescriptions at my grocery store in Los Angeles, they tell me I've already filled that prescription for that month. They verify my birthday. They look again at the screen. I demand that it's impossible, that I was not even in California on the supposed date of my prescription refill. Finally, we discover that they're looking at Alison Pearlman's file. Alison Pearlman, who has the EXACT same birthdate as me. The only difference between us being that "man," who must have remained in her family name out of strength, unlike our "man," who hid from potential religious persecution when we came to this country and became less Jewish and more subaqueous.
I of course searched for this other me on facebook, and found a woman I thought was a match. Emailed her after realizing she, too, pursued her PhD in the humanities, and that she is a professor, which I aspire to be. Though our email exchange was interesting, she is not the me I'm looking for as we do not share the same birthday. And thank god, because I take pride in being a 24 year old PhD candidate, and if she were 24 and already a professor, I might cry. But, as she pointed out, this means the other us is out there somewhere in Los Angeles, refilling my asthma medication, and probably complaining every time the pharmacy gives her the wrong birth control pills.
Where are you, Alison?
[Somewhat related side note: when I look for any combination of Ali/Alison/Allison Pearl/Pearlman on facebook, I am presented with an alarming number of results. Alarming because all these years, I thought I was the only one. And if these others are just like me, they'll be disappointed in their lack of individuality, too. I want to start a disappointment club. A club for Ali/Alison/Allison Pearl/Pearlman where we can discuss our various Jewishnesses, how people mistake us for middle eastern men, how our last name is just a little too lustrous for our less than sparkly lives.]
I am proliferation. Or they are. Or we are. Expanding. Synonyms for "proliferate" are all verbified nouns: "mushroom," "snowball," "rocket."