A friend sent me a text and it demanded urgent attention: ‘SBS Insight has a program on twins NOW!’
I stop everything and turn on the TV.
As an identical twin I often talk about ‘we’ when I mean me. It’s an old habit that I can’t seem to throw. Up until our teens we (my twin and I) were often referred to as ‘the twins,’ and we even received presents to be shared.
My curiosity peaked, I drag in my partner Neil. He’s an identical twin too!
When I met him I thought that we’d have a lot in common, but we don’t.
You see, I was looking for similar twin experiences that would reinforce my own. I used to quiz him about his brother and how they related to each other. But, I soon stopped as it seemed my relationship to my sister was vastly different.
Recently she rang and I sensed a pending medical alert: ‘I’m having laser surgery to correct a form of glaucoma which may lead to permanent vision loss if unattended. There’s a fifty percent chance that you’ll have the condition too’.
My first reaction was ‘eek’, it sounds nasty, but I don’t want to know really. Mentally I filed the information away knowing that I was seeing my optometrist within weeks. Now I have a referral that says ‘her twin has been diagnosed and treated for….’
Twins, we’re the perfect experiment really and through twin studies science and medicine has gleaned much about the impact of genetic versus environmental influences.
When invited, I’ve always participated in these studies and now have valuable records on bone density, allergies, cholesterol and so on.
A girlfriend of ours has experienced a couple of ‘twin things’ when she’s spent time with the two of us. On a surf and yoga retreat we were inhaling an unusual liquorice herbal tea and talking to others in the group. Independently we turned to her and said almost verbatim ‘Mmm, this reminds me of the tea that I have at my hairdressers.’
We don’t go to the same hairdresser but ironically they are both Aveda salons that have their own special blend of liquorice tea which we independently love.
On a cycling trip to Bendigo the same friend, Anita, was keeping a record of our spending on odd scraps of paper. On the train home the addition began.
After a moment her eyes rolled and she looked up and said ‘Oooh no, this is spooky…I can’t believe it, you’ve both spent exactly $172.’
Talk to her though and you’ll find that unlike the carefully screened sets of twins on Jenny Brockie’s program, we’re not mirror images, we don’t finish each other’s sentences or sense each other’s pain. We’re just good friends really that sound a lot alike, look a little alike and share the same birthday.