About a week ago, Alan and I started playing this game that I have since come to call “The SwitchaRoo.” It involves detailed role-playing where he instantly assumes my speech, demeanor, train of thought and body movements, and I concurrently become him. We try to be the other person for as long as we possibly can and call each other out when one of us breaks out of character. If we are on a particularly long-stint of playing The SwitchaRoo, it is allowed for the other person to break character if he first calls out, “Out of charcter…,” and this phrase might be followed by something like, “…I need a haircut.” This is so very out of Sobrina-character that it could only be Alan being Alan. He needs haircuts like you or I would need gas for our car. His hair grows at an inhuman rate that requires a trim every other week. If he were to shave his head today, he would have a nice head of dreadlocks by the end of the month if he wanted.
Alan has gotten so good at The SwitchaRoo that now I mainly suggest we play it for my own amusement. It’s fascinating to watch someone else’s interpretation of you, and it’s very telling of how he sees you. It’s hilarious to watch because I never fully realized I had so many quirks until I saw Alan acting them all out.
Yesterday after stopping by the grocery store, I drove home as Alan normally would. I pressed all the buttons on the radio, never quite satisfied with what was playing, a nervous habit of his that makes me want to slap his hands to keep them still. From the passenger seat, Alan looked over at me with a big smile. He pulled up the soda pack at his feet to show me and said in an excited voice, “Look! I got this little mini cube of soda for only $2! It only has 8 cans of soda and not 12, but it’s just so cute and mini!” Then he stared back down at the soda pack in his lap and smiled at it, pleased with his purchase. I nearly choked laughing. That is exactly something I would buy and for that exact reason.
Once home, we watched one of our favorite movies together, Good Will Hunting, and for the rest of the evening dreamed of what it’d be like to be math geniouses. We were so engrossed in our day dreaming and got so into The SwitchaRoo that after a while we forgot we were even playing it anymore.
Right before bed, as I was brushing me teeth, Alan called out in a feeble voice to ask if I could get him a glass of water. Later, when I laid down in bed, he turned over and pointed to his shoulders, implying that he wanted a shoulder rub. After that, he asked me to check to see if the front door was locked. I was just about to tell him a thing or two about how no one likes demanding people bossing them around when I recognized that voice; he was still in character and was asking me to do all the things I ask him to do before bed. This made me laugh. Partly because he was making fun of me (‘haha, do I see what a brat I am’ type of thing), but mostly out of relief because the joke’s on him. The SwitchaRoo is just a game; when it’s over I can go back to being me, he can go back to being himself, and I never really have to deal with myself at all.