Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Other Doppelganger

Last year when I was toying with starting a blog and trying on names for size, I settled on Bitty as my handle because I was fascinated by the idea that a grown woman would have such a name. Bitty! It’s like being named Baby! Or Tiny! Or Princess! Yet there were real people with the name and at least two Bittys out there in TV land, actress Bitty Schram and Bitty O’Sullivan-Smith, dialogue editor (wish I knew what that is but don’t care enough to research) whose charming name always caught my eye in the credits for Sex and the City and who, it turns out, has quite the impressive resumé. So, me too! Me too! I wanna be a Bitty, too.

Anyway, as one of my students loves to write, I digress.

Bitty all by itself wouldn’t be blog name enough, it seemed. It took only a few moments of brainstorming for “back porch” to appear, and to appear as the perfect choice. My fondest wish is to have a back porch, although that porch dream keeps morphing between the grand and the reasonable: a full-on extra room, no, a lanai, no, a sunroom, no a screened porch, no… (and all sadly now pushed at least 7 years in the future -- because I really need to work toward a new car first -- by which time I may be in a Halliburton Concentration Camp over my liberal views and it won't matter anyway, so look at the money I'll save; but anyway, I digress…)

Bitty’s Back Porch: friendly and alliterative.

Not very far into my blog journey, I Googled the name, eager to see one of my posts come up in a search.

Imagine my surprise to find another Bitty’s Back Porch, not a blog, but a restaurant in Alabama.

Imagine that “Bitty’s” even bigger surprise some time later to apparently Google herself and find my blog.

Some time back I was visiting over at Waveflux and noticed what had probably been there all along, a Bio link. Clever ol’ Waveflux introduces himself by introducing all his doppelgangers, all the people he’s not. And that reminded me of another Google search I did a few months back.

My real name is – so far – unique. Not the first name, but the combination of that and my last name, Former Husband’s name really. (Why I kept it would lead to another digression, so let’s save that for another day.) Google my real name and you get me. *

One day I had the bright idea to Google my maiden name. Well, not really my name: my first name and stepfather’s last name. (Again, let’s go there another day.) I expected – well, nothing, really. It’s a unique name. Not the first name, but the combination of that and my stepfather’s last name. Or so I thought.

The search turned up 2700 hits.

There’s something really odd about seeing “your” name in a context utterly unrelated to you, the feeling that people must get when their identities are stolen. So if I’d read that Other Bitty was a real estate agent or wine broker or escaped convict, that would have been unsettling enough.

Instead, I read that Other Bitty is something I always aspired to be, and still vaguely do: a widely published writer. Widely, as in many of the 2700 hits were in foreign languages because her books are published all over the world.

Granted, she writes children’s books and books of scholarship about children’s literacy, not the genres I had in mind. But them’s books just the same, and obviously her bliss.

Other Bitty is living the life I wanted to live, and she’s doing it with my name.

And I’m left with the odd feeling of having taken the road less traveled.

*I wrote this a few months ago, but didn’t post it. I don’t remember why. In the meantime, I did a search (not a Google, someone else) and discovered THERE IS another person with my real first and last name. If you knew how weird my last name is, you’d be as surprised by this as I am. However, since this doppelganger is in Maryland, where both I and Former Father-in-Law grew up, she must be some distant relative or in-law of Former Husband.


Waveflux said...

That is, in its way, the most disturbing post I've read in a while. Granted, we're always someone else's doppelganger, too. But when somebody else with your moniker overlaps with your life in other ways...well, it's like a teeny-tiny violation of...something or other.

Bitty said...

Violation of the order of the universe, I suspect. Either that, or I've figured out the secrets of the universe. Connect the dots by connecting the doppelgangers...

Twilight-zone time.