Losing It

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You are in your sixties, even fifties, and you are walking by a shop window, or in some area in which a security monitor shows a scan of the line you are in. You sneak a look. You see someone in the space where you should be but you do not recognize the interloper. Then, after an unseemly lag of a second or two you are forced to remake your own acquaintance; it seems you no longer know yourself at first sight. The you behind your eyes believes you look like you did twenty years ago, and it assumes that dated image is the real you, even if recent photos tell a horror story. But photos seldom confirmed your self image, even when you were young, so you can dismiss the latest batch. In high school you accepted only one or two out of fifty on the contact sheet as satisfactory, though none of your friends or family, when asked, could distinguish the person in the photos you thought reasonably flattering from the many in which you looked like a total doofus. To them they were all indistinguishably you. They were not even putting you on, as you vainly believed, when they thought the best picture was the one you felt the most loathsome.