Thursday, April 17, 2008

Have you seen this woman?

A lot of people think they have, apparently.

That's me, by the way, for all those who haven't experienced the inexpressible joy and sheer delight of meeting me. Do I look familiar to you?

It all began innocently enough in high school. I was in line to buy a chocolate malt and a tray of nachos for lunch. (Mmmmm... nachos....) The cashier asked me how my sister was doing. I was confused and stammered out that I don't have a sister. The cashier studied my face carefully and then said, "Are you sure? You look awfully familiar." Yeah, lady, I'm sure I don't have a sister. "Well, okay, but you sure look like someone. I just can't put my finger on who, though."

This event was my first recollection of a happening that is all-too-common in my life nowadays: people thinking they recognize me. Every couple of weeks, someone tell me I look familiar, ask if they know me, or simply start talking to me as if we are already acquainted.

I became friends with one of my friends from college this way. She thought I was her English teacher (because apparently we look so much alike) and decided she had better kiss up when she saw me in the cafeteria. I just thought she was being friendly. We became friends and stayed friends even after she discovered that I can barely even read English, let alone teach it.

When I picked up my husband from the hospital last month, the orderly offered to let me wheel him out to the curb myself -- because he thought I worked there. Not because I was in scrubs or anything, but because he thought he recognized me. (I'm glad he ended up doing it himself because I definitely would have gotten lost in the labyrinth of hospital corridors.)

At almost every single event I am at with Brett (he's a DJ), from weddings to house parties, some wants to know where they know me from. I've been asked that at the bank, the record store, on vacation in Hawaii, at church, at the grocery store, and while washing my hands in a public restroom. Everyone thinks they know Andrea.

The first 20 or so times it happened, I actually tried to figure out how we might be acquainted. Where did you grow up? Where have you worked? Do we have common friends? But, it's so commonplace now that I have a standard answer all prepared for the Inquisitions. "You probably don't know me. I get asked that a lot. I just have a really common face." It doesn't seem to matter what color my hair is, how fat or skinny (haha) I am, or how I am dressed. For 20 years, people have been recognizing my face. Wrongly recognizing my face, because they never actually know me.

A woman came into my office one day, and after exchanging pleasantries, she asked, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" I took a deep breath and began, "No, you probably don't. I just have a really common face..."

She stopped me. "You're Andrea (maiden name), right?"

I sat back in stunned silence.

"I'm Trish. I used to date your older brother. Remember me?"

I did remember her eventually. I'm just not as good at recognizing faces as the rest of the world. Sorry.


Bertie said...

I married Chet because I thought you were this really rich billionaire I once knew- and I was hoping to get some of your inheritance--- but it turned out you are MUCH better!:)

NG said...

I have a similar phenomenon happening: everyone I meet thinks I am from the same country they are from. When I lived in South America, it was the joke that on my passport under place of birth it said, "Where ever you were born."