Monday, June 6, 2011
If I Don't Say Hi, I'm Not a Snob! I'm facially blind!
Okay, backstory: I grew up in a family that did not talk about stuff. They just kept their shit to themselves. I grew up with the ability to perform psychometry (reading objects with touch and knowing about others who have encountered that object), I also had synethesia in relation to time (storing days of the week, times of the day, months, years outside my body in a 3-D grid). I never knew that no one else does these things. I just figured they didn't talk about it.
Yet one more oddity plagues me. Yeah, I'm a freak, I know, but I'm a lovable freak, dammit!
I have facial amnesia.
I cannot picture anyone's face in my mind, not even my own, my son's, family, friends, my ex... Doesn't matter. I can't picture them! If I see them, I recognize them, but until I see myself in a mirror or someone else I know, I cannot conjure up even a clue of what they look like. My son, for example. I know he has brown eyes and a broken nose, but, I cannot put a face together in my mind to imagine him. Even my own face I look at every time I brush my teeth or wash my face--completely blank in my mind's eye.
Sometimes, it's an embarrassing issue. I ran into a dear friend after years apart in a store I never would have imagined she would shop at. I stared right at her in the checkout line and she went home insulted that I saw her and didn't say "hi." Oops! How do you explain, "I didn't recognize you outside of your usual environment"?
I can recognize someone outside of the usual place if I am expecting to meet them somewhere we haven't been before, but if I walk into a restaurant and you live across town, but happen to be in my part of town and I see you, I will not know you. The exception will be when you approach and say "hi" and I blink a few moments, placing the voice and then recall who you are because you have frizzy blond hair or a beard.
It's a weird affliction. I don't know how many people have this, but I'd be curious to know. As you can imagine, I was miserable working in the retail industry. I'd put someone in a dressing room with clothes and if they came out and walked around the store looking for more shirts to try on, I'd approach them as if they were new to the store. I had to learn to look for price tags dangling.
So, if I run into you where I don't expect to see you, help me out. Speak first!
(my attempt at a self portrait. Honestly, if you asked me to do a portrait of anyone from memory, this is how they'd look. har har)
at 12:00:00 PM