A few years ago I got a strange friend request on Facebook. Before I read the accompanying message, I clicked on the man's photo and was redirected to his Wall. He lived on the East Coast, had none of the same interests as me and we had zero mutual friends. I sighed. Just what I needed. A Facebook stalker. For fun, I decided to read his message anyway. It went something like this:
I know you don't know me but I had to send you a friend request anyway. You have the same name as my girlfriend and I think that's pretty cool.
|Strange similarity #107: |
We both look hot in sunglasses
I chuckled. Now that was a line if I ever heard one. Another Katie Powalski? Preposterous. I did a Google search and I was the only one who popped up. I was about to write him back and give him a piece of Katie Powalski's mind when I decided to look at his Wall again. Sure enough, under "relationship status" it said that he was in one with Katie Powalski. I clicked on her picture and it was a distant shot, on a boat of some sort. She was hard to see, but she looked about my age and was pretty. Suddenly, my interest was piqued. I accepted Jon's friend request, and shortly after, accepted Katie Powalski's.
After a few Facebook messages, the other KP and I decided that we were not in fact related. My family name spelling had been changed at Ellis Island and she believed that hers had been too. We joked about the online serendipity that had brought us together and both agreed that the other seemed cool enough. If I had to share my name with someone, she seemed like a good candidate.
Our online relationship started out tentative. I was a single mom with a baby and she would "like" the latest pics I posted of my little one. Soon, she and Jon were engaged. She was planning a wedding and I clicked "like" on any planning details. I must admit that it stung a little bit every time I saw a message like this in my news feed:
Jon M ------- > Katie P
"You are the most beautiful woman in the world. I love you so much."
I knew the message was not for me. But it was my name. I never knew how much I wished that there was someone in the cyber universe who wanted to say those things to me until I saw someone saying those things to me -- well, to my name.
Katie and Jon got married and judging by the pictures, it was a lovely celebration. A few days later I saw a disconcerting thing in my news feed. Katie Powalski was now Katie Powalski M---. We no longer had the same name. I was the only one. The lone, single KP with no third word to add to my profile name. It made me sad in a warped, ridiculous, only-on-Facebook kind of way.
We continued to interact through Facebook and strange similarities kept popping up. We liked some of the same foods, had the same views on issues and got excited about the same, everyday-type things. When I started dating my husband, the other KP was very supportive. When I got engaged, she commented that now we could each add another name after "Powalski." When I saw that she was pregnant with a girl, I commented that the world needed more Powalski girls.
Her daughter was born last April. After a few days of celebrating my own daughter's third birthday, I logged in and decided to check her page to see what progress her little girl was making. I was shocked to find out that her daughter Grace had been born on my daughter's birthday. Grace is my daughter's middle name.
So maybe we didn't share the exact same name anymore, but now our daughters would forever share a birthday.
Several months later I wrote a blog post about the importance of picking out a good name for a baby, and I mentioned that my name was nearly "Vanessa." KPM sent me a message and told me that she too had almost been named "Vanessa."
The only thing stranger, I thought, than two Katie Powalski's would have been two Vanessa Powalski's.
Just the other day, I posted a Facebook status about the anemia that I have developed in this pregnancy. True to our KP bond, she commented that she too had anemia when she was pregnant with Grace. I realize that anemia is fairly common in pregnant women... but still. The simple and overt ways that our lives continue to intersect astounds me. When I emailed her to ask if I could use her photo and our story for a blog post, she wrote back to give me the "okay." She also mentioned that she recently landed a gig as a blogger on local events for a real estate company. One more thing in common. And I look forward to reading her posts.
We have never met in person but I feel like she is a friend. Maybe someday we will cross over the online boundary and meet face-to-face.
Until then, I'm happy to have found a name-twin with whom I can share the online experiences of life, marriage and motherhood.
You can contact Katie by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.