I Think I Erased You

I am now meeting people I know, only to find that I have erased their names and entire personalities from my conscious memory.  It is only a prominent mole, a facial tick or a crooked nose that makes me realize that I do indeed know this person but have no recollection of how.

I am failing to recognize people I know on an increasingly regular basis.  I think this is a defensive mechanism and it is the antithesis of recognizing strangers.

It all comes back to a simple issue.  Our brains were developed in a village and the most people we could ever expect to know was one hundred.  As a consequence, we have a limited capacity for remembering people.  If a stranger came into the village, we would have to quickly get to know him to determine if he was a friend or foe and if he was staying.  But if we want to remember someone new, then someone else has to be erased.  I meet a lot of people so I think I have unconsciously developed a technique for erasing people without me even knowing it.  It’s not personal.

My previous strategy of deliberately ignoring everyone, whether I know them or not, has not worked.  My family and close friends found it too distressing.  I explained my theory and they presented me with an alternative thought: that I am becoming senile and should accept that things will only get worse.

So I should write my will now, while I am of sound mind and body.  And before I erase the people I love from my memory.

Famous Strangers

I was heading to the toilet on my flight from Bermuda to New York when I saw Eminem.  He was way in the back of the plane in-between two women.  He didn’t look very happy.  Of course, I realized soon enough it wasn’t Eminem.  I’m sure he travels in a private jet and would not be mixing with the general hoi-polloi on United Airlines.  And I know he wouldn’t be sitting in a middle seat.  So this means I have recognized a stranger to be someone I know but have not met who is not him.

I am very disturbed by this latest development.  Recognizing someone famous I have never actually met is just a waste of emotion.  All of that sudden rush of adrenaline at finding yourself face-to-face with someone you have admired and seen in movies and YouTube and listened to all his music and trying to think of something intriguing or mysterious to say instead of stuttering, “Aren’t you, er, you know, Marshall Mathers?”

And he would reply, “Just lettin’ you know that you’re not alone.”

Only to find out that he’s just another stranger.  But at least I know his real name.

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