I hope your Easter was as lovely as mine. i really do. I spent the whole day with my sweet mother and by the time Amazing Race came on, I was painted three different colors, head to toe, and she had not a drop on her. Even though she’d painted just as much as I had. I’m messy.
Today started out VERY early with my yelling from the bathroom, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT JESUS DID FOR YOU? HE DIED AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD. AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SIT NEXT TO YOUR BROTHER FOR A FEW MINUTES WITHOUT KICKING HIM.”
And then I woke up the rest of the way and made breakfast and was fine. But GEEZ the trivial conflicts started early today. After my mom arrived, we hid eggs and went to church. Where I managed to completely get two people’s identities WAY wrong and in such a way that they KNEW it and then I had to try to apologize my way out of that. twice. And I cried all over a suede dress because, well, it’s Jesus. And Easter. Not because of the people I got all confused about. (Yes. It really was cold enough for suede this morning. Ugh.)
It’s not that I don’t CARE who people are enough to remember their names. I’m very good with names. And voices. But faces…? Not so much. I don’t know how long I have to stare at someone’s face before I really know it. But it’s a long time. When I met and stared at Mysti’s sweet face for 4 hours while we ate tacos and laughed and talked recently… I thought for sure I’d know her face if I saw it again. I mean, FOUR hours? But i wouldn’t know Mysti if she passed me at Target. (Sorry Mysti. I really wouldn’t. WHAT IS WITH THAT?)
It’s nothing new. Five years ago my mom and I were sitting in the Albuquerque airport and she handed me a magazine article about people like that. Facial Blindness. Or Face Recognition Disorder or something like that. And I handed it back to her and told her how reading that was the first time I realized everyone else wasn’t just like me in that way, too. Epiphany. Right there in Albuquerque. So. I know I’m like this. It just bothered me more today, because i usually keep to myself so much better and it doesn’t really ‘show.’
I think the moment it bothered me the most was when a lovely woman at church said hello and I introduced her to my mother. As “Stephanie.” And? She said, “Oh. Yes. But actually I”M NOT STEPHANIE. I’m ______” She was VERY kind about it.
My mom asked later if the two women looked alike. And I was all, “WHY ASK ME? I HAVE NO IDEA. I THINK THEY”RE BOTH REALLY PRETTY BRUNETTES BUT WHO KNOWS GAAAAAAHHHHH?!”
One of the reasons I decided instantly, 16 years ago, that of course I liked Mike very much was his chin. (SHUT UP. I was… 20? I married a man only PARTLY because of his chin. Not ENTIRELY. That would be silly.)
Mike’s chin is unlike ANY other man’s chin. It has a very deep chin dimple thing in it. I remember thinking, “Aha! I would know that man anywhere.” And that was it. I could bypass the hours and hours of studying his face in order to get it into my head and just check the chin. That was immensely convenient. Comforting, even. Appealing, definitely. It was as good as a name tag.
When in life is there actually time to study someone’s face for all those hours I need in order to recognize someone? There isn’t. You meet someone at church or somewhere else and say hi and maybe talk for a few minutes, and that’s enough for most people to recognize them again in the future, and it will NEVER be enough for me.
Instead, there are mental lists for people. A very good friend of mine is almost 6 feet tall, gorgeous, long blonde hair, and i know how she usually dresses and what her purse looks like. The first ten times or so we met for coffee, that was the mental checklist for picking her out in a coffee shop. (most people don’t need a checklist for picking out a gorgeous 6 foot blonde in a coffee shop. I know. And that right there is my problem.) AFTER those first 10 coffees, I knew her face. Today, I’d recognize her anywhere.
I know her husband. But I’ve never stared at his face for that many hours and I wouldn’t necessarily recognize him if I ran into him somewhere I wasn’t already expecting him to be, unless I heard his voice.
As you can imagine, I just don’t know that many faces. most people are ‘mental checklist’ people – not ‘i know that face’ people. I’m good with that. But right now people at church are waaaaay friendlier than I’d like and I’m suddenly very aware that few of them are actually the people I THINK they are and that’s just so disconcerting. The last church I went to was small. I knew everyone. I knew their faces. We were all mostly the same sweet people every week for ten years. That’s completely impossible at this church.
I’d like name tags.
If you don’t have a one of a kind chin, then by all means, slap on a name tag. Or ignore me! hey, let’s just do that.