i have probably the worst facial recognition skills known to man. i’ll recognize your bike, your shoes, or your sun glasses before i recognize your face. i’ll recognize you if you’re a coworker and i see you at work. however, if you’re a coworker and i see you at the grocery store… i’m really sorry. if you’re my cycling buddy and we usually meet for a ride with our cycling kits and helmets on, i’ll recognize you. however, if you’re my cycling buddy and i see you at the grocery store … i am so sorry. who knows how many people i’ve ignored throughout the years. i hope they realize i just don’t recognize them, and i am NOT snobbing them.

i’ve been recognized many times by people i know, out on the bike trail. i only came to notice them because they made some snarky remark about me being a pompous douche bag (at least i hope they are being snarky). it’s always followed by a big surprise on my side, followed by some lame excuses about the sun in my eyes, dirty sunglasses, or being in the “zone”.. getting over the flu etc. they usually forgive me, but it’s always awkward.

another time i was at home depot with my wife and i some guy was standing right next to me and said, ‘hey man, how’s it going?”

“it’s going …..well?” i said. i wasn’t real confident when i said it, mostly because prior to him asking me “how it was going”, i was actually doing well. now however, some stranger was asking me a question as if he knew me…. and i probably know him, but i don’t know him! i thought about asking all those benign “context” questions hoping to get a clue, like “what are you doing here?” “is this your wife?” “when was the last time we saw each other [and where]??” … but alas i was too confused to be smooth. finally i had to ask, “how do i know you?”

he said in a surprised voice, “i’m chad!”

oh fuck it was chad! i just rode with him two days ago. when we rode we both had to stop periodically for the rest of the group to catch up. while we waited chad and i talked about all kinds of stuff. i got to know chad pretty well … except for what his damn face looks like! i was so embarrassed … i think chad is still mad at me, we hardly talk anymore.

my inability to recognize people out of context is pretty bad, and i have tried several times to compensate for it but this too has led to some awkward moments. i’ll usually think i know someone and start talking to them generically as if i know them… but then quickly bail when i realize i have no fucking idea who this person is.

here is what happened yesterday on the bike trail:
i was riding along some single track of a popular local trail. i was in a hurry to get back to the car, so i was carving out this trail like an olympic snow boarder. not that this information has anything to do with the story, but i wanted to let you into where my mind was at.

i saw a couple riders up ahead and they had moved over to the side because i looked like i was going way too fast to stop, or they were just being nice, and letting me enjoy my ride… in any case i didn’t want to be a pompous douche and just fly by them.. so i slowed down to a respectable speed as i came near. the guy in the front had a big friendly smile on his face and said “hi!”.

his greeting was so friendly, i couldn’t help but slow down to a stop as i approached him. I upped the ante by saying “HEY, how’s it going?” at this moment i thought this guy was dave. dave was a former coworker who loved to mountain bike and we had a falling out two years ago. if you knew dave, this guy would have blown your mind by his resemblance (take this last sentence with a grain of salt, because you read the first paragraph of this post).

dave said, “oh it’s going pretty good”

at this moment i had some doubt that it wasn’t dave, but i wasn’t confident enough that it was. so i started to come up with some more awkward conversation, “what are you doing in this area?”

dave said, “i ride here now and then.” “the weather was really nice so we came out to ride”

dave was riding with a little girl, most likely his daughter. however dave didn’t have kids. i had to get out of this conversation some how. “i don’t know you do i?” i finally said.

wes (formerly know as dave) said, “no you don’t”

“well, i’m leo, i thought you were someone i knew, but it’s nice to meet you!”

wes said, “well i’m wes, and this is my daughter ‘something or other’ and it’s nice to meet you too”

“well have a good one later!!” zoommmmmm. i was out of there.

i guess the bottom line is that i just want to ride my bike. socializing isn’t going to happen for me when i’m cycling… or at the grocery store, or home depot etc.

see ya out on the trails!!


One comment on: do i know you?

  1. Robert Hurst

    I rolled right past my own brother downtown one day, at about 4 mph. He told me about it later on.

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