Who’s Who?

I hit that weird feeling of not being myself in any real sense today and thought again of the research suggesting we’re more an observer of our body and mind than anything else. And once you “go there” it can be pretty hard to shake. Eating cereal, but more “watching the incredibly realistic 3D movie of myself eating cereal” and so on.

It all culminated in a bizarre trip to the airport. I sailed my avatar/self to the metro and sat down at the front of the car with the cool futuristic view of the tunnel. I was reading stuff with Instapaper when this guy sat down next to me. He smelled of smoke and sat down with an odd comfortableness, as though we were somehow friends.

I ignored him for a while, but then at some point I had this super weird feeling that he was actually me in the future. I peered at his reflection in the front pane of the metro car, and his haircut and clothes and everything could have been me. I couldn’t see his face. I became strange perturbed by the idea I was sitting next to myself. Fortunately, I looked at his shoes, and realised I would never wear shoes like that. I felt better.

Later, at the airport, waiting for Rilla to come out, I constantly worried about whether I would actually recognise her. Common enough (I assume?), but in this new context of dissociation from my own self, and this sense of being a free-floating observer of a life, it all seemed ultra crazy. I started feeling that, what with the arbitrariness of “who we look like” and so on, Rilla might just walk right past, with neither of us recognising each other at all.

As it turned out, I did recognise my wife and we rushed off home in the metro with me feeling considerably more anchored into life. My free-floatingness might be somewhat connected to more or less not speaking to anyone in person in the past week. Still, I can’t shake a creeping suspicion that all this “normal life” is actually just a construction and distraction from an underlying arbitrariness of self, representation, existence. It doesn’t feel bad or anything, just… there.

13 May 2011
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