I am rude – or so they tell me
Walking down the street I walk straight past people who I know and never speak. Sometimes they speak to me and I still walk on past. How rude. But I do not wish to be rude, I do want to acknowledge people, even if that is an exchange of waves or nods or a, “Hello, I’m sorry I do not have time to speak right now. The problem is I never saw you, I never heard you. I go face blind when stressed.
The stress does not have to be much. Walking along a road with heavy traffic, shopping, shopping malls are particularly a place where face blindness hits. Town centres are better than this, there are buildings with different architectural styles the odd tree. If you raise your eyes above the shop fronts there are things to see. Malls, raise your eyes and you see another tier of shops.
Context has a lot to do with it. People I know from church I may walk straight past on the street. Just because I know you from one context does not mean I will recognise you in a different context. Please do not try to shame me, I can’t help it.
Knowing that I am autistic has been a great help. Not that face blindness is something that can be used on its own in autism diagnosis, there are many people with face blindness who are not autistic, but autistic people are more likely to have face blindness than the rest of the population.
Please don’t tell me off if I don’t recognise you or if I forget your name, (I do that too, it’s connected,) I really can’t help it.