Thursday, August 5, 2010

Do I Know You?

I've always creeped myself out a little bit with my superhuman memory. Like the time when I was 10 and I was at Classic Skating with some friends (what's the trashy equivalent for "did I just date myself?" ... "did I just white trash myself?") and I saw a guy and I knew his name was Chris* and the only reason I knew that was from looking at my sister's junior high yearbooks? Not even like Chris was a hunky guy or anything. I just saw his name, saw his face, and somehow committed it all to memory.

Not sure why I used to pass the time looking at my siblings' year books. But I did that. A lot.

Moving on...

We hop on the subway to head home last night and I'm standing next to this girl I know. Like I know I know. And I don't know her name or really anything else about her. But I know for almost-certain she and I were camp counselors at the same summer camp six years ago with 200+ other counselors and true - we didn't actually know each other all that well even at the time - but I'm pretty sure that's why I know this face.

The guy talking to her has a Russian accent, and I think to myself, "well - if she's Russian, we have our answer." Pretty sure girl from camp = not Russian.

But then I hear her talk and accentless. So now I'm even more convinced. And I do it. I play the creeper stranger card. "This is probably really strange to ask, but..." Because you know it's going to drive me crazy if I don't.

AND...

Sure enough. Counselors at the same girls camp in Maine six summers ago. And now we're standing next to each other on a subway car in Manhattan reintroducing ourselves.

It makes me think the universe sometimes does things just to see if we'll notice.

As we walked home, Noah told me about this NY public radio interview he listened to about face blindness. Or, more accurately, prosopagnosia. It sparked the most fascinating conversation about what it would be like if that was your reality. Meeting people and promptly forgetting them. One example shared in the interview (we went straight home and unloaded the dishwasher as we listened to this interview. it's always a party at the Riley pad.) was even to the extent that the man didn't recognize the woman he lived with for two years upon seeing her again. This is unreal to me - I can't even imagine. And it has my mind going about 200 mph just thinking of what that must be like.

By the way, this also happened to me a few weeks ago when we were headed uptown to meet some friends. The familiar face and I kept exchanging glances, so I was sure he recognized me, too. Totally thinking I've probably met this person at some church function. Maybe I should be nice and go out on a limb first. Toss a "remind me where we've met" out there. But before I could make a total fool of myself I realize it's this guy. Kidding, I just wanted a reason to say that again :). It was this guy.

8 comments:

Robby Spratt said...

Classic Skating was cool back in the day. I used to go there and rollerblade to Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer!
Anyway, your person remembering skills are quite impressive. You must be a pretty outstanding Facebook stalker. I wish I had your skills.

Lora said...

Sooooo, having known you since you were like 3 months old, or whatever, I can definitely attest to your impeccable memory. It was almost freaky walking around with you and stopping every 3.5 minutes to go over with someone how you knew them from your 2nd cousins 3rd wife.. seriously Al, very impressive. By the way, I'm pretty sure I was at Classic with you when this occurred.. because well, when were we not there?

Mike and Sarah said...

So ironic! Mike said when he saw you guys he couldn't stop thinking, "how do I know them, how do I know them?" And Classic Skating was definitely rad.

Missy said...

Classic skating is totally legit when you are ten. It's any older that is white trash.

And I'm guessing you are Radiolab fans? God Bless NPR.

Ashley said...

You definitely got the anti-prosopagnosia gene because I took up most of it :)

Mo and Kristi said...

ALLISON! LONG TIME!! You have got quite the memory... loved the post. Glad I found ya!

Claire said...

VERY impressive memory! I remember some good stories from that summer in Maine! Wow... crazy that we've been friends that long (well, longer)!

Corey, Alisa, and Elsie said...

I seriously wish I had that kind of a memory--it's the worst when someone comes up to you calls you by name and you can't even sort out in your brain when and where you knew them from. I'd be happy to trade any day. :)