I have heard many people say, ‘I never forget a face’. Well I do. Frequently.
I can remember obscure facts, historical details and stuff nobody cares about, but people are a mystery. Unless I have met somebody several times and recently, they are erased from my mind.
Yesterday, a woman stopped me in the street, she knew exactly who I was and seemed really pleased to see me. However, I had no idea if she was a childhood friend, former colleague or maybe just somebody I gave a bingo prize to last month. I was hoping she would drop in some detail that would help me out but no luck. She must now think I am a terrible person. Perhaps I should have admitted I had no idea who she is. Thinking back on it, I can remember where I spoke to that woman, what she was wearing and even what the weather was like but her face has already gone.
This is the second time in the last couple of weeks this has happened to me. The first time was a man roughly my age, who not only knew my name but also that of my brother.
Doing research for this blog, I find this ‘facial blindness’ is quite common in the autistic community.
An example from recent history is one day last October when I asked the same couple three times within an hour what they had done that day without any memory I had already spoken to them. Turns out they went to see the seals.
I am also completely unprepared for somebody to speak to me out of the blue. I do not really understand why they would want to. This is also the case on the internet. My job means I am required to have an ‘online presence’. In reality, this only involves other people from the same company who are also required to have an ‘online presence’, we all like each other’s posts on Twitter or Instagram (about events we all already knew about) and the same photo goes round and round. I am not convinced any of us really know how to use social media properly and I have no problem with that.
A message from a stranger comes as a complete shock, particularly when it is somebody with whom I have no connection at all. Why would they want to?
This week, out of the blue, I received a comment on a photo from months ago (of a sunset) from a person so unlikely I had to look several times…
Paul Burrell (best known as the butler to Princess Diana)
That one ‘like’ was from me. Goodness knows how he found that photo.
The internet is a crazy place.