Monday, April 4, 2011

Bad With Faces... And Names

My wife's hometown is about 3 hours away from us. And we've visited there enough times for me to have met some of her old friends and some of her mom's acquaintances. But I don't usually run into anyone I know when we go there. So I turn off my "do-I-know-that-person?" radar when I go out in public while we're there.

As is my custom on these visits, I usually go to Best Buy to kill some time while my wife goes shopping with her family. And a few months ago, I was doing just that. I took my son into Best Buy and we just wandered around. And as we passed the laptop section, I glanced over and saw another customer staring at me. And I was about to look away when he said, "Hey!" and pointed at me. I turned around to make sure he was actually pointing at me and then returned a confused "Hey" right back to him.

And he said, "Don't I know you?" But I could honestly say I'd never seen this man before in my life. But before I answered I ran through the very short list of people I knew from that city. And when his face didn't match any of the faces I knew, I told him that I didn't think so. But he wouldn't let it go. He said, "Are you sure? I know I've seen you before. What's your name?" So I told him my name was Taylor and explained that he must be mistaken because "I don't know you and I'm not from here." I explained further that I was just visiting my in-laws and I needed to be on my way. So we cut our Best Buy time short to escape the crazy guy who thought he knew me.

Then the next morning, I saw the same guy! And I would have thought it was a weird coincidence if it hadn't been while we were walking into church together. And that's when I recognized him (because people look different in dress clothes). So I embarrassedly shook my head and tried to avoid eye contact. But he held the door for me and mumbled as I passed, "I told you I knew you."

So now, every time we visit, I have to make a point to say hi to him as we walk into church or as I pass his seat. But for the life of me, I can never remember his name! So I just say generic stuff like, "How ya doin', man?" or "Hey! Good to see ya!" Apparently I can only remember a face and a name if people never change clothes and always wear name tags. What is wrong with me?


Jennifer said...

I'm the exact same way.

I remember numbers, though. I even remember phone numbers of people whose names I can't remember.

Rob said...

It is slightly odd that you didn't at least recognize his face if not his name. Perhaps some minor Prosopagnosia?