Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Facial Myopia and Menacing Tupperware


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.

19 comments:

Gilahi said...

Sounds like a galloping case of prosopagnosia (google it). The next time someone gets upset because you didn't recognize them, just tell them that you're distracted because you've become aware that you have prosopagnosia. First, they'll forgive you for having a horrible disease. Second, they'll tell you about their cousin's friend's boss who had the same thing and nearly died.

Shannon said...

Snort. First I'd have to be able to pronounce "Prosopagnosia." Then my friends would ask me if they opened for the Ramones.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

You would be able to find me by my Vera Bradley hahahahaha

Um which Popeyes did you eat at? Maybe I should share the story of the chick I arrested that worked there ha

Shannon said...

Apparently, I should recognize Zip because she has a bag that everyone else in this town carries. Fine. I'm the one in the Ann Taylor wrap dress. :)

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

yeah my bag is cuter though than most Vera Bradleys - haha

LivitLuvit said...

When I'm working, I recognize people by what they drink. They tell me they want a Guinness with a side shot of Bushmill's and THEN I can remember that they work at a financial investment firm and just got back from visiting their sister in Tampa. So weird.

restaurantrefugee said...

Shannon, with me forget about the walk, look for the cocktail in my left hand - dead give away.

Shannon said...

Zip - what, it has TWO layers of quilting?

Livit Luvit, that's weird. Though next time somebody orders Makers Mark on teh rocks, ask if it's me.

Refugee....Daddy? Is that you? Nah, but cocktails should always go in the left hand, so your right hand isn't all clammy during handshakes.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

Sounds like toilet paper you are talking about - hehehe so in a crisis situation the vera bradley could come in handy

charlotteharris said...

Criminals in DC keep ketting more clever -- sounds like you were almost attacked with leftovers!

Shannon said...

Zipcode - that's about ALL I would use a Vera Bradley bag for.

charlotteharris - the Tupperware was empty. If it had been filled with rocks or (very small) bricks, then I would have been concerned. (And grateful I wasn't that man's doctor.)

restaurantrefugee said...

Shannon, I have never met you boyfriend but I presume him to be a nice guy. So it makes me really uncomfortable when you talk dirty and call me Daddy that way ;

Ryane said...

You know, maybe that guy was just a tourist? ;-)

Shannon said...

REfugee, considering my actual dad reads this blog, I meant it in a strictly paternal sense.

Ry - Maybe he was on the "Hug a Local Secretary" part of a scavenger hunt.

lacochran said...

Doesn't Gene Weingarten have the same issue? I think so. If you two got introduced, you'd never meet up again!

Also, I was in a meeting today and an important person walked in with one of those horrible quilty bags and I nearly snorted! Not a good political move.

Shannon said...

Lacochran - maybe it WAS Weingarten.

brandonsavage said...

Genius! Absolute brilliance. I'm stricken with a particularly bad case of "I can't remember your name, I don't know your face, and I don't really give a damn." Needless to say I'm not very good at networking...if I was bad at my job too I'd probably be homeless.

It's nice to know there's someone out there that can make me laugh about my predicament. ;-)

Shannon said...

Brandon, aw, you're making me blush. In a facially blurry sort of way.

brandonsavage said...

Don't worry - I won't remember what you look like blushing in five minutes anyway! ;-) What was your name again?