I walked into the coffee shop yesterday, a little later than usual. Annie and her friend, Gretchen, were there -- solving some of the world's pressing problems. If you'd like to read more of Sam's musings on life, visit his blog at www.sammcleod.net/blog or become his Facebook friend.
"Sam," Gretchen called, motioning for me to join them before I got in line.
I started to sit down at the table with them, but ...
"No," Annie said. "No need to sit down. We just wanted to tell you there was a guy sitting right over there, next to the window. He just left. He was impersonating you."
"What?" I said.
"It's true," Gretchen said. "The guy was sitting there in that big green chair. He had a cowboy hat on and he was wearing sunglasses. And he had a beard. And he was writing something. He looked just like you. I started talking to him, but he wasn't you."
"That's right," Annie said. "I thought he was you and I'm married to you."
"Well, why would somebody do something like that?" I asked, puffing up with self-importance.
"Because you're a writer and come in here all the time and people like you ... well, some do. I think the guy must be lonely or a little off," Gretchen said. "He looked a little off. And when he took his hat off, his hair was a mess like yours ..."
"Oh, I don't mean anything by it, you know. Just that sometimes ... occasionally ...you know ... well your hair is sort of a mess."
Annie nodded. "See. I told you," she said.
"Other than the hat and sunglasses, what was he wearing?" I asked.
"A ratty old fleece and dirty blue jeans and some nasty white tennis shoes. Just like the stuff you're always wearing," Gretchen said.
Annie nodded again, rolling her eyes this time.
"And he was sort of big-boned like you," Gretchen said.
"Fat," Annie said.
"Pudgy, not fat," Gretchen said. "And old. We'll not really old. Just ... you know ... older ... not elderly."
"Old," Annie said. "And he had gray hair and a gray beard."
"Snow white hair," Gretchen threw in.
"Sorry I missed him," I said, not quite so puffed up anymore. "That's strange."
"Yeah, it was," Gretchen said. Annie nodded.
I left the ladies to their problem-solving, stepped up to the counter, and ordered a cup of coffee -- tall drip with room for cream.
"A refill?" Eric the Barista asked.
"No," I said. "It's my first cup."
Eric looked at me funny -- like he was having a d√©j√† vu moment. "I could have sworn you were here earlier," he said.
I came into town again this morning. It was dark and foggy. Holiday lights hung from the trees along Main Street in wind-blown strands.
The street was deserted but the coffee shop was well-lit, looked warm, and inside, the place was buzzing. Nat King Cole was singing "Mona Lisa." The place smelled of cinnamon.
As I ordered my coffee, Eric the Barista pointed to the green chair at the window. Then he shrugged his shoulders.
"That guy looks just like you. Even ordered a tall drip with room for cream just like you," he said.
The fellow sitting in the big green chair did sort of look like me. He had on a cowboy hat and sunglasses.
"Odd," I thought. "Wearing sunglasses when it's dark outside."
He had a white beard and white hair that could have used a comb. He was wearing a worn-out fleece and dirty blue jeans. And really dirty white sneakers. He was sort of paunchy and well past his middle years -- way older than me.
Before I could walk over and say anything to him, Bob, a coffee shop regular, walked up to him and said, "Hey, Sam."
"What?" the guy said. "Sam?"
"Sam McLeod," Bob said, laughing like the guy was joking.
"Never heard of him," the guy said.
"Lousy impersonator," I thought. "Guy doesn't even know who he's impersonating."
Then the guy looked at me and nearly jumped through the ceiling, like he was seeing a ghost.