Faces trouble me. Names trouble me. I just cannot put the two together. It’s not that I can’t differentiate between people, and it isn’t the occasional memory lapse that everyone has. It happened twice yesterday, and hopefully if I explain it will make sense.
First, I bumped into someone who called across to me to say hello. I recognised her and stopped to chat. But I had no idea at all what her name was. I could tell you facts about her – where I know her from, the last time we met. Her name? Not a clue. And when you know someone fairly well there isn’t a right time to say ‘I’m terribly sorry, I’ve forgotten your name’.
The second incident was the opposite. In a conversation, I was asked to describe someone else. I couldn’t do it. I see the person regularly, can connect their name to them. But I cannot picture them in my head at all. Having realised this I thought of people I know incredibly well – my daughter and himself. I know their names, know who they are, my daughter lives with me so I spend a lot of time with her. Can I picture them? No.
For some reason I just can’t match up names and faces with any reliability, and cannot imagine people at all. It isn’t that I don’t recognise people, because I do. I just have a block somewhere when it comes to names and to picturing people in my head.