There’s probably some psychological term or reason for it but I’ve never been much good at remembering names and faces; and putting names to faces. It’s never bothered me, the War Office reckons I’m rude. Well if I am I don’t mean to be I just can’t see much point in it half the time.
I’ve got a pretty good memory, I like to think of it as being an amazing one most of the time, kind of like a giant filing cabinet stuck inside my head with all the right drawers sliding into place and one huge drawer labelled UI overflowing and bursting at the seams. The drawers labelled “Names” and “Faces” seem to get stuck and/or else I can’t find the key, so I don’t go there often.
Back in 1965/66 I remember walking along William Street in Melbourne I was with a young woman who was working at the AMI plant at Fishermans Bend (I can’t recall her name she was a lass from New Zealand who, like me, enjoyed doing the ‘Age’ crossword), and the company used to put a bus on for the staff who needed or wanted to go into the city at lunch time; and I bumped into another young man and young lady going in the opposite direction.
This young lady greeted me with the nice big smile of a long lost friend and said “Hello Brian” or words to that effect and being a polite sort of chap used to being accosted by young ladies in the street, said “Hello” back. She looked at me in some state of shock and said something like “You don’t recognize me” and I mumbled something feeble like your face is familiar and she piped up “I’m your sister Carole”!
True! I hadn’t seen her for a few years (probably 6 or 7) I’d kind of become estranged from my relatives and had had a battle with the bottle after the breakup of my marriage. She must have been a girl of around 14, 15 at the most, the last time I’d seen her, and now here she was a young woman in her early 20’s. They change, well that’s my excuse.
She introduced me to her friend as Robert something or other and I can recall that quite clearly; why? I’d never met a Robert before, Bob yes and it’s easy to forget somebody named Bob, I had a dog called Bob, but this was something new Robert. I much prefer people to be called by their proper given name.
Now if that doesn’t convince you as to the veracity of the opening paragraph of this little blurb nothing will.
And yet there are many people I remember and can visualize only by their nickname which seems to be contrary to what I’ve said.
Perhaps it’s a form of indolence on my part, I don’t set out to be rude or ignorant but mostly I can’t see the point or necessity in remembering the name of every Tom Dick or Harriet I come across just to be able to say I have a great memory for names and faces of people I’m never likely to meet again.
Then again I’m probably an ignorant, self centred egotist. Yet I get the feeling I’m none of those!