In my previous post, The Shape of a Face, I had mentioned that I tend to remember peoples' faces and details about their lives. What I didn't mention was that people don't usually remember me.
Being an introvert I sort of expect this. I don't go out of my way to stand out in a crowd or be the life of a party. Once in a while it bothers me, especially when I actually know a person's name and worked with them in the past on some long-term project. But for the most part I've enjoyed the gift of being anonymous. I look a lot different than I did when I was younger and I'd rather not be remembered from my elementary school years as the brainy kid with buck
teeth and gangly limbs; or from high school as the girl with the bad
haircuts; or in more recent years, the passive aggressive woman who usually
seems fine, but who can surprise you when her mood decides to swing in the other
There was one time I was working at a retail software store and an older gentleman came in. I think he just wanted someone to tell him that he really didn't need to buy the new version of Windows which was a big deal at the time. He bought the program anyway, but returned it the next day because it made his system run slow.
Several years later I was working at another company and went to their holiday party. That same man was at my table. He didn't work for my company but had been invited by one of the VPs. When I saw him, I remembered butting heads with him years earlier, but I said, "Have you ever shopped at XYZ software? I remember you as one of my customers."
He was so impressed that I remembered him, (and of course I didn't remind him of the details of our first exchange). We had a good conversation and before he left for the evening he made it a point to say goodbye to me.
When stuff like this happens I feel like a spy or secret agent - making observations and collecting details that can turn situations into more positive experiences. There's also something very satisfying about being anonymous, especially in the world of Facebook, Twitter and daily blogging. Hopefully, I can keep special parts of my life hidden so they can be brought out later as tools for change.