What if you could remember the names, but not see the faces? Everyday I talk to people without knowing who they are. It’s my mini grab for a Golden Globe in life, acting as I try to launch into the right conversation and level of familiarity the person expects of me. The inevitable miscommunications are smoothed over with a raise of my white cane.
I fake it until I make the connection of whom I’m talking with by the sound of the voice, the context of what they carry, the typical greetings I hear from particular individuals. I would rely on outfits, but people insist on wearing different clothes each day, the nerve.
People familiar with my visual impairment might not realize it happens with them occasionally, too. Put me in distracting lighting or in a place I wouldn’t expect to meet that person and I engage in some moments of stranger talk before the pieces of identity fall in place.
If only I could yell, “Roll call!” when I encountered some people I’m supposed to know at any gathering. Socially awkward, but it would do the job of enlightening me about who was around me. I appreciate it when someone announces herself to me with a simple, “Hi Susan, it’s (insert name here).” It’s a verbal caller ID and it relieves me of the identity search.
I would even welcome a Spartan Cheerleader style of announcing oneself, the sheer effort at resurrecting a beloved comedy skit from the 90s would amuse me. Until roll calls come into fashion outside of academia and late night comedy sketches, I will continue to unravel the mystery of who is talking to me, one word at a time.
In the meantime, enjoy some classic Craig and Arianna, the Spartan Cheerleaders at the Chess Tournament.