I Am Me … Aren’t I?

“Yes, I’m sure I don’t want to further my education,” I said into the phone.

It was the second call I’d gotten that day. And considering I already have a master’s degree, a bizarre one.

“Well, on the survey you filled out …”

“I already said, I didn’t fill out any survey,” I answered. Good grief, was this an identity theft?

“I am sorry, Mr. … is it Ra-SHED?”

Well, that was a new one.

“No, Ro-SHAY.”

“Spelled R-A-S-H-I-D?”

Oh. Good. Grief.

“No. Definitely not.”

I suppose I should have been expecting this. After all, Rochat isn’t the easiest name in the universe to start with. As I’m fond of saying, everyone who can spell it can’t say it, and everyone who can say it can’t spell it.

But even accounting for that, every two or three years,  the name situation falls into the Twilight Zone. .

The most innocuous one started right after I married Heather and moved to Kansas. For some reason, every third piece of junk mail I received was addressed to Steve Rochat of Garden City. Since my Uncle Steve was living in Loveland at the time, it just seemed an odd coincidence.

Then came the bill collection calls in Emporia. Apparently a Scott Rochat of San Diego (yes, another one!) had left some impressive bills and some tenacious creditors behind him.  We’d clear it up, hang up, and a month later, yet another half-recorded robocall would be left on our answering machine to CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY REGARDING ….

Now this. Scott Rashid?

The curious thing is, there is a Scott Rashid in this area. A brief search online found him in Estes Park, a kindly-looking expert in bird rehabilitation, particularly small owls.  For a moment, I almost regretted being the wrong man … his life looked like an interesting and worthy one to have.

It’s an odd feeling, really, to get a brief window on someone else’s life.  Irritating at first, maybe, but ultimately fascinating. It gets you thinking about your own life and identity for a moment, the roads you might have taken, the choices you didn’t make.

It’s funny, the kind of soul searching you can get from a wrong number.

For now, the results satisfy. I’m certainly glad not to be in major debt. I’m satisfied not to be another Stephen Rochat (my uncle and cousin carry off that role quite well, I’m glad to say). I even feel pretty good about the educational choices I made – though I suppose, one day, I may yet consider that doctorate.

Who knows?

Oh, and Mr. Rashid?  If you start getting people telephoning you about some Sunday column you’ve never heard of, you have my deepest, deepest apologies.

Call me sometime, and we’ll sort it all out.

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