Friday, March 15, 2013

Understanding Transgender, Part III

After the event, I spoke with a couple of the speakers.  I know they have a hard job ~ it's hard to imagine what it really feels like to be trans.  The talks were geared towards what they called "gender variant" youth, and if they made parents of such children feel better or at least not alone, then they did a service.

I also chatted with Donna and Diane and Steve.  I didn't mingle a lot, because I'm not much of a mingler.  It's part of my coping strategy that resulted in my putting that asterisk on the "recognise anyone" comment.  In hindsight, I should have said hi to more people.  Civilians and trans alike.

Now, I've mentioned "prosopagnosia" on more than one occasion.  I thought I went into a bit of detail, but I was looking back through posts and don't believe I ever did.

On the scale of "I know I've never seen you before" to "I bumped into you at O'Hare airport eighteen years ago.  You dropped your bag on my toe," I'm at "are you sure you're my mother?"

I don't recognise faces.  For the job I had when I started this blog, I travelled to many cities for a day or a week that would start with a requirements meeting.  I would scribble notes on the participants on the corner of the front sheet.  (Actually, I always left the front sheet blank, and started on the second sheet for two reasons: one, the material was sometimes classified, and two, I didn't want people to see my people notes.)  I'd scan the table and write down a name, what the person's role is, and a visual clue: "short brown hair," "tall, black frame glasses," "beard," "woman."  Stuff like that.  If it was a one-day affair I'd just make notes on what they wore.

I love the soirees ~ Christine hands out name tags.

I once went to a friend's house and walked into an adjacent room while my wife stayed behind to speak with the host.  There was a couple there.  We spoke briefly and I introduced myself.  He introduced himself and I felt like an idiot ~ I had met them at least a half-dozen times, spoken with them at length.

It gets worse.

Once when I was a kid, I was walking down a street near my home (Flushing, NY).  A woman I just passed calls out and says "you just walk past me?" and it took me a moment to realise that she was my mother.  No, I wasn't exaggerating earlier in this post.

Old radio shows never had solo characters because they'd end up talking the whole time to describe the action and scene.  They always worked in pairs (at least) so they could sort of describe the action and scene to each other (while we eavesdrop).  I rely on others to help me out.  Suppose I'm with Charity.  If someone starts to talk to me, I will come off as rude or inconsiderate or lost because I won't introduce her.  Instead, she knows if she doesn't get an introduction quickly she says "hi, I'm Charity" and the other person says "hi, I'm Barack" and I know who I'm talking to.  Or she'll softly say, as we approach someone "that's your kid."  Or she'll say to her, "hi, Madonna!  How are you?"

For the record, I haven't not identified my kid yet.  I have not recognised my wife on at least one occasion.

And I do remember some people, but I don't know why.  And it's also what I call "positional:"  I'll recognise my manager in the office but if I see him in the cafeteria... who knows.  I've had people chat with me in the supermarket and I have no idea who they are.

I'll leave this topic with one other story: I brought my youngest to a Tai Kwan Do place where we were supposed to meet a friend of his.  A very pretty woman came up to me and started talking.  After a couple of minute she said "you have no idea who I am, do you?"  I said "sure I do."  She said "where do you know me from?"  Well, lots of kids there, so I bluffed: "my kid's school."

No.  We worked together, in daily contact, for several years.  Until just a couple of years earlier.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe that's what I have...although probably not a severe case.

    I can meet someone once (or infrequently), and not recognize them days or weeks later, in the same or a different setting. However, I can still recognize the folks I worked with every day, even this long after retirement.

    Of course, my hair, nails and attire are sure to let others remember me, so I find others talking to me when, as you say, "I have no idea who they are." I'm nice to everyone, and usually can get a clue from something they say. (But not always.)

    Thanks for bringing this up...these blogs are very educational, in MANY ways!



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