We've all met those people who say, "I forget names, but I never forget a face." Liars. Every last one of them.
See, I'm the opposite. I'm bizarrely good with names. But faces completely bypass me. Even if I've known you for half my life, I pick you out of a crowd by the way you walk, your hairstyle, your clothes. Your face is a nondescript blur. If you change your hair, forget it. And even if you don't change the hair, my ability to recognize you is still very iffy.
I once walked right past my own mother in an airport. She's had the same Audrey Hepburn crop since at least 1983. Plus, she and I look a great deal alike. The nose alone is a giveaway. And, also, she gave birth to me and raised me and all that. Doesn't matter. Blurry!
Walking down the street involves a special sort of dread. Random people will come up, strike up a conversation with me, and I'll eventually realize I'm conversing with someone I've known for years. Things like sunglasses and hats completely stump me...in fact, I reflexively remove my sunglasses when I greet people so they know it's me. (Of course they already know it's me. I have the most recognizable voice in Washington. I've been told I sound like a "Southern-fried sarcastic parakeet." There's a sexy thought for y'all to carry around your workday.)
And now for the point...and there is one! Thursday, I was coming back to my office after a classy Popeye's lunch. A young man walked towards me, arms outstretched as if he was about to do a field sobriety test. There was a Tupperware tucked into his right hand. His wingpsan was taking up the whole sidewalk. He progressed forward, expressionless, inexorable, concealed by a hat and sunglasses. Eventually, I found an opening and ducked under his arm, narrowly avoiding the Tupperware. He continued down the street.
A concerned older lady stopped and asked if he was someone I knew. Hey, that's entirely possible. She thought he was coming up to hug me...though, if a man knows me well enough to hug me on the street, he usually knows me well enough to remove the hat, doff the sunglasses, and identify himself. So, Mysterious Hat-Sunglasses-Tupperware-Field Sobriety Test Dude, if you are indeed a friend of mine, I'm sorry. But next time, lose the hat. And the glasses. And maybe wear a nametag.