Saturday, April 15, 2006

I think, or at least, I like to think, that I'm a reasonably forgiving and accomadating person. I don't typically harbor grduges or hate people indefinitely. (I will, however, admit to hating some people for shorter periods of time, perhaps a week or longer). Sometimes a person screws me over so badly that I simply have no interest in ever interacting with them again. It isn't necessarily that I hate them...just that I do not want the strain of dealing with them anymore or being reminded of the painful events that have occurred, or risking being subjected to yet more of the same. Very often, there's no hatred or animosity involved...just pain. With some people, it just hurts too damned much to see them or think of them or to replay all of it...I can't deal with it, so I wall them off from me. Of course, if I cared *very* much about the person, and I end up seeing them anyway, I may well act flippant and casual, like I could care less, and then once I'm alone again, fall apart. At least they haven't seen the pain, so I still have my dignity.

Once in a while, though, I do encounter a case where I seriously and deeply, vehemently, dislike someone: people who are gratuitously mean. Mean for no other good reason than that they're in a position to dish it out. If they're phony sugary nice as a thin skin over it, you can multiply my aversion by at least 10....

A seperate, unrelated topic

Propognosia (or, difficulty recognizing faces)

I could claim that it's because I rarely look at people faces directly for very long, and I'm sure that that is indeed a factor. The fact is, though, that I've been known to not recognize my own dad when I saw him in an unexpected setting. Big deal? No. This causes so many embarrassing social problems you wouldn't believe it. Much of my social recognition is based on factors such as clothing, hair style, scent, setting, color, large accessories such as eyeglasses, gait and other body movements, voice, body size and shape, etc. In fact, you could mark out the faces on most of the people I know and I could recognize them well if all the other factors were as usual. If I see someone in a dfferent setting, I may treat them as a stranger even though I've just spoken to them at length the day before...because I flat out do not recognize them. There may be a nagging familiarity about the person that I can't place....but I've had so many awkward encounters where I thought I knew soemone and didn't know from where, and it turned out that they were, in fact, total strangers (who were embarrassed and confused that I thought I knew them) that I have discontinued saying, "Don't I know you from??" all it takes is for someone to wear their hair differently, or dye it, or not wear a uniform, or for me to see them in a different place, to assume the status of a total stranger to my brain.

Now, if they walk up to me and say "Hi! (yak yak yak)" then usually the voice and other cues (scent, gestures, hints in conversation) will cue me in to the identity of the person within a few minutes. I try not to let on that I don't remember who they are in the meantime....

And, I don't think it's a memory problem. I have a photographic memory. The thing is, faces usually aren't in it unless I've seen the thousands and thousands of times, and possibly even if I have. They're blurry or absent, while other things, such as appliances left on or forgotten objects, are quite clear. I try to explain it, when I make a particularly embarrassing faux pas (such as recoiling violently when a friend comes up and touches or hugs me in public before I recognize them!), but I think it must still be offensive to some degree.

It's one of those Asperger's things that I don't really relish having.