Prose of Pagnosia

  • Reading time:4 mins read

My face-blindness is a fucking cartoon. Even if i know to watch for someone, I don’t recognize them if they change their hair, their dress, their posture, their accent. If I see someone who looks vaguely similar, I’m like, am I going mad? Did they always look like that?

It’s bad enough with, say, actors in a TV show. Where things really get strange is with people I know in real life—even people I really should be able to recognize, like my parents or my (now ex-)spouse, right. But, welp! Brain has other ideas.

Say I’ve known you for thirty years; see you on the regular. Then you show up where I don’t expect you—maybe wearing a new hat? My brain: who the everlasting fuck is this, and why are they talking to me like they know me Though I should add, if you talk in your normal voice, I’m likely to figure it out in a minute. Voices, I’m okay with.

With my ex-spouse, they’d do their hair differently and I had to just stare. Was that really them, I wondered. It had to be, right? Was this some sort of a trick? I felt like I was talking to a completely different person; like someone else had been swapped in. It freaked me out, put me on edge. Anyone could claim to be them.

Once at—when I was a teenager there were these strange, depressing parties held for dial-up BBS meet-ups. There was a girl; we were in this weird nebulous relationship, and I think she eventually lost patience with me and my aroace dithering. (Not for the last time!) Once as I arrived at one of these shindigs, a person who looked not at all like her, but had kind of similar hair, ran up to me and hugged me for some reason—and I was freaking out. It’s not just the unwanted contact. It was my brain, going, fuck fuck is this actually her? Did she always look like this? Why do I not remember?

The scene was weirder still in that I don’t think I knew that person at the time. so I don’t know what she thought she was doing. Maybe she had the same problem as I?

Probably not.

But, like. You can see how I always have felt like reality is shifting under my feet, like I’m living in some kind of a dream. Nothing feels nailed down to me, or to act along any kind of consistent rational logic. And here we’re just talking faces.

Holy shit, reality is hard. I can tell you, this is part of why I have never felt motivated to do recreational drugs. The effect I am promised there, that’s the opposite of what my head needs. I don’t need perception to get blown open, man. I need to be able to consistently wake up and expect that I’m living in the same universe as yesterday, which it almost never does. Everything is new to me all the time. There’s no history and reasoning to any of it, and it’s so fucking hard.

That is to say, historically speaking. From recent experience, I feel like Azure has an easier time of it than her predecessor. It’s still hard for me at times, but by God I’ve never felt this rooted. They sure never did.

Between the above and my inability to remember names, you can see the how social situations might threaten to wash over me, carry my sanity away with a hiccup and a gurgle—even before we get into, like, social mores and performance and expectations, and having no idea what anyone means or what they think I do.

It’s scary, man. I don’t know how people do it. I guess their brains just work right, huh?

Me? Why, I get violent anxiety attacks. It’s rad.

Then people scream at me for embarrassing them by having an anxiety attack. Which helps a lot. Remember what to do if anyone you love happens to be in distress.

Ha ha.

Anyway, that’s why I never talk to anybody ever. The end.