I have an unusual name, and as far as I can tell, only one other person on earth shares it. He's a man, and I believe he's originally from Italy. This may explain why he got stuck with Andrea, which in Italian might not be the feminine version of Andrew, but an ordinary everyday unisex name. We may even be distantly related. My twice-great-grandfather was born in Trieste, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time but is now part of Italy. I'm no expert on the ever-shifting borders of Europe, and I attribute my father's father's part of my heritage, variously, to Slovenian, Yugoslavian, and Austro-Hungarian. Why not add Italian to the mix?
I've known about my name doppelgänger for as long as I've googled myself, which I don't do frequently (I'm not that big a narcissist) but do do occasionally (as research into the effectiveness of my self-promotion as a writer). The first time may have coincided with my first publication, in 2008. So the other AL and I are old acquaintances, in a stalkerish kind of way.
Beyond our names, we have nothing in common. He appears to be some kind of aerospace engineer. I've never clicked on the links to his research articles and profiles on various platforms (I'm not actually a stalker), but phrases like "computational scientist" and "fluid dynamics" and "mathematical plasma astrophysics" pop up in the teasers to the listings on Google. I feel like there's a great joke in there somewhere: "Do I look like a rocket scientist to you?" "No, but the guy on Google who shares your name does." It needs some work.
I wonder if rocket scientists google themselves, when they're not busy doing rocket science? I mean, even mathematical plasma astrophysicists need a break now and then, right? And if my name twin googles himself, does it rankle him that his research articles on fluid dynamics alternate in the results, in almost a one-to-one ratio, with essays about motherhood? Or does his mathematical brain see some kind of beautiful symmetry in the listings: man/woman; numbers/words; the endless vacuum of space/the endless vacuuming of the living room; launching rockets into the stratosphere/launching humans into adulthood?
I think my twin and I have more in common than it might appear at first glimpse. I have no idea what fluid dynamics is, but I'm going to believe it has something to do with the mysterious ways of the universe, where very unlike things come together in surprising ways.