I don’t recognize faces. I recognize people I know very well – as often as not because they appear in a context that makes them recognizable. I know this lady because she is the checkout person at Hannaford, but if I see her somewhere else, I probably won’t recognize her. It is embarrassing.
I can pretty much always recognize Garry and my son — and other family members — but we’ve been recognizing each other for somewhere between 45 and 60 years, so at least I’ve got those people nailed in place.
Thing is, I don’t “see” faces. I am okay dealing with people with whom I have spent significant time and with whom I’ve had meaningful conversation. If you are close to me, I will know who you are. But my first husband always wore a beard and one day, he decided to see what his face looked like — and I had no idea who he was. He too was faceless. Without the beard, I’d lost him.
I thought this was just me, but I have since learned this is a syndrome and goes handily with my inability to know where I am — even when I’m close to home.
It was a comment from Judy Dystra-Brown – lifelessons. She said:
Locational dyslexia and facial blindness go together. I have them both as well. Took me years to figure out the facial blindness. I thought I just didn’t pay attention. I have terrible problems with films and tv shows where all the women look alike.
I had no idea it was a “thing.” Like her, I thought I just wasn’t paying enough attention. But this inability to recognize faces (or remember names, a whole other issue) has dogged me my whole life. That’s a lot of dogging.
She went on to say:
I discovered the location dyslexia when I was taking an in-service class on learning disabilities when I taught H.S. I found out about the facial blindness from Duckie. He has it, too. Then I found out the two are often associated from a woman who presented at a writer’s conference here who I was giving rides into town to. Always learning.
It was a revelation for me. I have had this problem my whole life. I know we develop memory issues as we age, but this was a problem when I was still a teenager. Some guy would ask me out, but when he showed up, I wasn’t sure I knew him. I would have recognized him in class — where I met him — but out of class and wearing a suit? Was it the same guy? I had to assume it was because here he was, at my door. No one else was supposed to show up.
I am totally hooked on signs. Big signs. The bigger, the better. I think everyone at every party should wear a name tag because otherwise, I don’t know who they are.
Worse? Garry doesn’t recognize people or places either, so together, we are perpetually lost and often arguing about it. It’s the lame and the halt fighting about who should lead the party.
I get to be the navigator and have printed instructions to go with the GPS, (which I don’t trust because it often sends us places by very strange roads that aren’t really roads). Garry feels he needs to argue with me, which simply takes my base confusion and ramps it up into high “I’m completely lost” levels.
We are currently making a deal that if I’m navigating, he should shut up and drive. If HE wants to navigate, that’s fine with me.
On some level, in my world, everyone is faceless. If you put a paper bag over my head and spin me twice, I won’t know where I am, even if it’s my own living room.
Faceless and directionless. All the way.