I practically have a photographic memory for faces. I guess. I don't know what the deal is, but I recognize people from various places all the time. Like when I see that same mom at the playground I saw at Walgreens a week ago, or that friend of a friend of a friend I met once two years ago. Or that guy I went to college with, and that guy and that girl, all SF residents who either don't recognize me or don't want to bother. Which is fine, I am not bothering either. What is annoying about this ability is that if it comes up, meaning, if I actually am the one who says, "Aren’t you friends with?" or "Did you go to __ College?" I deal with a puzzled "yes...?" and then me, “I recognize you. I'm ___" And because not every one has a memory for faces like mine, I usually get a sort of sometimes nice but sometimes are you a stalker response.
I have had 3 encounters with guys I went to college with recently that just make me feel like an asshole.
I met one guy at a party and we were actually sort of friends in college--or at least totally knew each other because we were on a group project together and had to talk on the phone a lot, and meet to study. It was freshman year, but still. I go through the thing, and he totally doesn’t remember me and his wife, right next to him is nice but also giving me the stink eye, like how do you know so much about my husband and he must have made an impression for you to have all this detail.
Again it happened at work, a new family came to clinic. I'm asked to see them because the mom has a history of depression and a new baby, so I am checking in to see how everyone is adjusting (you're more at risk for post partum depression with a depression history) when I look at dad, "hey! You look familiar." it clicks. Did you go to "__ College?" Again they are nice but act like I am a bit strange, plus; they probably felt vulnerable since I had all this info on them. But I mean well, I do.
The next week the husband and I are getting coffee and I mumble to husband about this hipster at the next table, "I went to college with that guy." Husband tells me to say hi, I say no, I've been seeing that guy around hipster coffee shops for years and I haven't bothered yet. Husband reminds me that I am friendly. "You are friendly. That’s your thing. Be friendly." But secretly, I have always thought this guy knew me too and that we give each other the nod and the acknowledgement that we both were never going to actually say hi. We weren't friends in college, why start now? So with the husband's prompting I say, "Did you go to __ College?" He says yes, I tell him me too that I recognize him, and he is not friendly at all! Again, I feel like an idiot, as if there is something special about this guy other than his totally recognizable face.
I know college was a long time ago, but I also know I don't looks so different I am unrecognizable!
We were at the farmer's market at the ferry building on Sat. I say to husband, there are those friends of friend's. He's all, who? I say, you know the ones our mutual friends carpool with, she's an attorney, and he switched careers to finance. He was an engineer. They have 4 kids; we met them that one time? And then the husband is off and running with the awkward, "Do you know __ and ___?" The guy has the paralyzed suspicious face, "yes." he was friendly enough, but, sometimes it feels like more work than it's worth. On that day I also saw the parent who was giving "info" at one of the pre-schools we visited a year ago, another family who I see all the time in our neighborhood, and a resident who worked at my clinic for 1 month 2 years ago.
I can’t wait for the day that someone comes up to me and says, "Hey! Aren’t you..." I will simply combust with relief. And I will be nice, and very friendly. I admit this talent comes in handy for my work, but overall, it is just sort of annoying. I mean, I could go on and on. I have about 6 other stories on the tip of my tongue!
I'm going to end on a good note, because I am feeling a bit whiny in this post. I admit that this trick has resulted in some very nice friendships and nice mom encounters on the playground.
Fine, I wouldn't give it up given the chance.