fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
[personal profile] fayanora
It happened again today. It doesn't happen often, but it happened again today. What happened? Well, that takes some explaining. See, I'm partially face blind. Only partially. Also I have a shitty memory. What this means, for me, is that I have trouble recognizing people unless I know them well enough, and it takes me varying amounts of time to memorize faces, anywhere from a few hours (or a few instances of seeing the person, with some reason to memorize their face), to weeks or months. Once I have a face memorized, I can usually recognize them later. Not always; context plays a big role, and someone being out of their usual context can make me a lot less likely to recognize them.

Also, if I don't have any reason to memorize a face, it's not likely to happen. Since I don't really care one way or another about most of my neighbors, and never have, there's still a number of neighbors at my apartment complex who know me by name, and I have no damned clue who they are still, even after living here for a couple years, and then once before for another year. I live in concern that one of these days, someone who lives here, someone I should be able to recognize, will need let into the building because their hands are full or something, and I'll accidentally piss them off by not letting them in because I have no clue who they are. But in this neighborhood, it's not a smart idea to let in people you don't know.

Anyway, what happened today was the occasional thing of being out and about (specifically I was walking from one place to another), and someone starts talking to me like they know me, saying my name and stuff, talking about how long it's been since they've seen me, and I'm just standing there nodding and making noncommittal sounds and words, because as far as my memory was concerned, I've never seen this person before in my life. And worse, I know I was letting that confusion into my face; I didn't intend to, but that's what happened. If she noticed, she didn't give any sign of having noticed. Of course, thinking back on it, the two most likely possibilities are either that she's a member of the pagan meetup who doesn't go very often, or she recognized me from when I used to go to the Unitarian Universalist church. Although, we were on Hawthorne, so it's also highly likely she knows me via Lily, and I just forgot, because to be honest Lily knows a lot of people, introduces me to a lot of people, and I doubt I could recognize more than a handful of them.

Until that happened, my big post for the day was going to be how I thought I recognized one of my pharmacists while waiting for the bus. It was probably him; same height and build, same bald spot, same race probably, and I think it was the same face, but he was out of his usual context; if it was him, he wasn't in his uniform, and thus was out of context.

At least, I think he's Asian or part Asian, but I'm not sure. My ability to discern race is one of those things my partial face blindness messes with. About the only way I have to be sure someone is Asian, due to the similarity in skin color of many of them, is the eyes. And his eyes don't match what I know of Asian eyes, but they look different from "Caucasian" eyes, too, so I don't know.

But yeah, race is a weird thing for me. I mean, black people are kind of obvious, usually. But there's enough overlap among whites, Latinx people, and Asian people that I sometimes get those three confused; there are whites I mistake for Latinx, vice versa, and so on. And trying to determine the subcategories of races is pretty much impossible for me. Unless someone is one of those Hassidic rabbis, I pretty much have to take people's word on whether or not someone is a Jew, for instance, because most of them look either white or middle eastern to me. And I might be able to tell the difference between a Greek and other middle eastern people if I viewed some side by side, but otherwise, I can't tell. Again, if it weren't for the eyes, there's a lot of Asian people I would classify as white because their skin tone looks identical to the average "white" skin tone, to me.

Though to be perfectly honest, given my feelings toward humans in general, and the way I was lost in my own world growing up, it's pretty impressive I can discern that much. If things had gone just a little different for me, my partial face blindness might have made it so the only thing I could tell about race was three categories: Black, white, and in-between. And given that I already make a fair number of mistakes vis-a-vis race, I would be making far more in that case.

And since I don't pay a lot of attention to strangers, I'd be kind of useless if I needed to describe some stranger for the cops, if I witnessed a crime (or was the victim of one, possibly). About all I'd be able to tell them, I think, would be whether or not they were black, and their presumed gender. Like, for instance, "Well he was probably white, and probably male, but I don't know for sure on either count." "What about his height?" "Um... average, I think?" "Weight?" "Average?" "Hair color?" "No idea." "Eye color?" "To be honest, officer, I wasn't really paying attention. He just looked like a possibly-white male. But he could have been Asian or Latin for all I know." (Secretly thinking: 'Partially just playing the odds here.')

Bleh. Make this one more in a long list of things that make me feel like an alien from another planet stranded on this backwater rock with a whole species of crazy people.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-06-17 09:45 pm (UTC)
darkoshi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkoshi
You sound like me. I'm not totally face blind, because I can recognize people after I've interacted with them enough, but my experiences are almost exactly like you describe them.

There's someone at work who, after we moved buildings, greeted me "Hi, I haven't seen you in a long time! ...." Like you, I try to respond politely, nodding my head... trying to keep the blank, confused look off my face. I got the feeling she could tell I didn't remember her. Now every time I see her (or at least someone who might be her) I feel uncomfortable, because I still have no clue who she is. Maybe she even mistook me for someone else. I don't remember if she greeted me by name or not.

There are other people who I worked with in person maybe a month or two, and could recognize them at the time. But if I don't see them again for a while, I have a hard time remembering what they looked like, unless I have photos. Then when I do see them again, I might recognize the face, but not the name or in what capacity we knew each other.

I keep "cheat sheets" to write down people's names and notes to help me remember what they look like. But that only helps a little bit.


fayanora: SK avatar (Default)
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