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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

when you have prosopagnosia and don't realize

Remember those times I said we were married 15 years before I ever told Scott I couldn't picture his face when I wasn't looking at him? Yeah, just hit me. If I hadn't had those old pix out this summer, I'd probably never have figured it out. Weird that it took several more months to flag me down.

It was during that time that my prosopagnosia became so noticeable that Scott had to keep an eye on me because I'd follow other people around while we were out shopping. I had never told anyone before that time frame that I'd been unable to remember faces through my whole life. I'd always been smart enough to cover for all my flaws, or didn't even realize I had flaws because I'd already adapted so well.
  • Personal note- I have prosopagnosia and I can't remember Tom's face when I'm not looking directly at the TV, which rules out that I'm following an actor around because of his looks. Quoting from an earlier blog post-
Despite all the vids I've shared and movies and shows I've seen lately, I cannot see Tom Cavanagh's face in my head unless I'm looking directly at him. The prosopagnosia is strong with that one. Joe Flannigan, no problem. I mean, I can at least get a forehead and eyes on him and I'm not even into Joe Flannigan. But yeah, I'm having as much trouble memorizing Tom's face as I had Scott's face and never admitted it for years. Imagine being married for 15 years before you even confess you can't picture your husband's face when you close your eyes and you're sitting right by him.

From June 30, 2015-

I mention having a facial recognition problem every little bit. Last night during a couple of new TV shows I scored on a couple of actor spottings before Scott did, and he was all like wow, you're getting better at this.

Information About Prosopagnosia --Click that.

I've been paying real attention the last few months on what exactly helps me recognize people. For instance, from my original post on mind blindness-

Likewise, I get tv personalities mixed up like crazy. I never could keep Dan Rather straight from a couple of other news reporters. There are a few actresses I can keep straight because I've seen their movies so often (usually scifi movies), and by now Harrison Ford is iconic in my head, but I had no idea Steve Carell, Dan Burns, Maxwell Smart, Evan Baxter, and the mayor of Whoville were all the same guy. Do you know how many times I saw the complete Star Wars trilogy before I knew who Mark Hammill was? Probably dozens.

So you guys probably don't realize, after three months of Benedict vids, that the marker I use to recognize him across character changes is the way his eyebrows look as he turns. For some reason, I'm pretty good with eyebrows.

Since I already mistakenly auto-sub eye and hair color for everyone I see with my faulty cataloging system, I can't count on eye color since his crazy eyes change color almost scene to scene, as confirmed by rabid fans around the world and this article mentioning sectoral heterochromia. (His eyes even have their own blog.) My own eyes are a mix of yellow and brown that I think make me look kind of werewolf-y in certain lights, which I bring up in my 100 Girly Questions Survey.

click for more Ben eye studies

The last thing on a person's face I can manage is noses for some reason, so everyone that I recall in my mind either has a blur there or a variety of noses I can plug in like a Potato Head. I'm pretty good with silhouettes, so the way a face moves means more to me than how a face is arranged. The more quirky a face is, the easier it is for me to remember and keep attached to a name, so Steve Buscemi has been a favorite for years, plus I actually like him. Cartoons and animation, on the other hand, are EASY. I never forget an artistically depicted face.

One of the ways I do most of my actor spotting is when I hear them speak. Very few actors can disguise their voices from character to character. But last night I was on point for two actors by their faces, despite some key changes that threw Scott off, and we've both been noticing I seem to be getting at least one a week now. I'm the person that watches TV with phone in hand, pausing the DVR to race through IMDB links, and I'm usually wrong, so me getting two right in one night this week was epic. I think I'm getting the hang of 'tagging' face parts in a sort of linear way so I can keep names attached to them.

I've said in the past that I'm a Sherlock fan, not a Benedict fan. I'm also obviously a Khan fan. What I need to be clear about is that I don't dislike or shun Benedict as a person. I simply don't recognize him from one movie or interview to another, so I don't attach any sort of meaning to his face unless he's doing a particular character that I'm watching. I'm very Benedict deficient when it comes to Ben fandom. It kind of hit me the other day that some people might misunderstand why, since there's been a little controversy around him here and there, which I could care less about.

I don't often see people talking about fandoms from a point of view like mine, a prosopagnosic asexual. Since I am, as a fansite owner, a highly visible representative of a show that actually uses continually sexualized characters, themes, and plot devices, I imagine it's difficult to think of me not giving an eyeblink to any of it. Lexx is brilliantly done. I love every shred of it unconditionally, like I do Sherlock. Star Trek, as some of you have seen, is a whole other beast for me, conditions galore had to be addressed before I finally embraced the new timeline.

You can see the impact prosopagnosia has had on me being a fan. I really do obsess over story lines and characters, film edits and effects, and the way I get swept up into a story. I could be halfway through a show before I realize someone I like from something else is in it, so I'm not just following actors around from show to show like many fans do. Either I very seriously love a character portrayal or I don't, and usually don't even care about stuff like Batfleck quibbles.

This has actually been a taking a break post, time to get back to the other thing I am working on.

This from another day.

Also, it's one thing for ex coworkers to ignore one another out in public places, it's another to look right at someone with bemusement and still act like you don't know them in a waiting room for lab during doctor visits. Not that I'd have talked or anything, but dang, be courteous and look at a wall or something if I look back and actually try to smile while I'm having a stupid day, because STARING RIGHT INTO MY EYEBALLS AND NOT ACKNOWLEDGING. *creepy* And I totally know it wasn't a prosopagnosia problem because that person has known me on sight for years, and unfortunately, coworker faces have a way of burning their ways onto mind blind brains like no other or I'd have been oblivious. Like I am with family members I haven't seen in awhile...

And the rest of the day got weirder from there. Was walking through a parking lot when a woman walking toward me blurted as she passed by me (srsly, like I was someone who knew her) that she dropped her phone after she locked her keys in the car, but it's ok, she's rescued... and I'm like wut. I mean, as if I had actually been the one with the dropped call or something coming to see what happened.

I really don't know how to properly interact socially when I'm out in public. I automatically greet like I'm at work and then people ask me for help shopping... 

Anyway, now this is just weird.

Oh, well. Nothing bothers me very long. Here, have an interview while I go start supper.

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