I am not very good at recognizing people. I often don’t look at people when I talk to them. I’ve had some “training” when I was a kid, where I learned to look in the direction of people’s faces but actually looking beyond them. I’m also a bit nearsighted. That’s the one where I can’t see far away clearly, right? But this is not about being nearsighted.
Sometime last year I was waiting for the bus and this woman said greeted me in a friendly “I know you” sort of way. On the 10 minute bus ride to my bus stop, I couldn’t figure out who she could possibly be. I was hoping that she’d get off the bus at any of the stops other than mine but that didn’t happen. She got off at mine and walked into the house across the street from ours. That was just a wee bit embarrassing. I’ve had spoken with this woman because FedEx left a package belonging to us at her place. I can even remember her name. I just can’t remember her face. Sometime after that, I went across the street to apologize when she was watering the plants in front of her house.
Last August I started university. There was a day when I had an afternoon lecture and was on my way to the car when I saw my neighbour’s kid. Not immediate neighbour, one house down the street, lovely family. I asked if he was heading to the train station and offered him a ride. In the midst of our chit chat, I learned that he too was attending the same university and was in the chemistry program. Turns out, he’s been in my class for the past month or so. Thankfully, we never had any interactions other than pass each other on our way into the class room.
Most recently, there was a girl that gets on the bus that I take to the train station. She gets on the stop after mine. There was one morning when she greeted me in that friendly “I know you” sort of way. I did not recognize her either. Then this girl in class started to look at me funny. It took me the past month to make the connection that this girl on the bus was in fact the same girl in my class. I figured it out yesterday.
So if you see me on the street and I’ve met you before but don’t return a friendly “I know you” sort of greeting, chances are I don’t recognize you. But that’s not to say that I found you unrecognizable or unmemorable. I’m just crap at remembering.