Thursday, August 28, 2008

Faces

Two weeks ago I had a bunch of posts planned. Had some great ideas, nice introspective, artsy-ish, reflective stuff. Then life happened and Toronto had that explosion and the Olympics started and Bolt and the Jamaicans won and my wife turned all Janet Pym on me and set her trained squad of killer wasps on me (Wu-Tang had killer bees she has wasps go figure) and well lets just say I got sidetracked and never got a chance to post on them.

Now I cant even remember what I was going to talk about. Actually I still remember one but not the angle I was going to approach it on two weeks ago so let me make up something.

Faces. They define us on a casual level don't they? Like for instance living in this multicultural society that is Toronto I've learned to at least partially figure out race and nationality from faces well not only faces but clothes and speech and mannerisms and attitudes and other stuff too (its called stereotyping) but lets just deal with faces.

Have you ever noticed that similar faces can span races? Like I ran into a black acquaintance the other day and realized that her face was very similar to that of a Chinese friend of mines' in terms of the shape and the cheekbones and stuff like that. I also had a situation where I met this Indian guy who's since become a friend and couldn't believe how much he looked like one of my black friends back home. Uncanny resemblance. Kinda weird when you think about it actually.

And think about how we work on face recognition. I'm always seeing people and thinking hey he or she looks like so an so. Its an ever evolving process too because if this person somehow becomes your acquaintance later on or you see them enough times you start to realize the dissimilarities between them and the person you on first casual glance thought they resembled. Then they themselves are entered into your face database and suddenly you are comparing other folk to them.

Then there is the whole faces with regards to location situation. This time I wont go into my some folks don't recognize me outside of the office spiel or my but the guy was 5 inches shorter, at least two dress shirt sizes wider and wearing a tux while I had on a suit spiel either but sometimes I see someone I've had some minor interaction outside of the regular place I'm accustomed to seeing them at and then I try to figure out where they are from.

Its like detective work. OK like seeing the restaurant server walking his dog or the hardware girl buying groceries out of uniform. You're like I know her but from where? I know she works in a retail capacity now is she from Wendy's or is that the girl from the book place? your mind churns and then click oh its the girl from Tim Hortons. Right!

Wrong! Oh its that lady who works in the office down the road that I see at the station every week. Happens all the time.

Whats interesting about that is if I went back into the same store or the same location I normally see the person at I'd have no problem recognizing them because in your mind there is that association between place and face. Its part of your built in face recognition protocol I think. But when you see them out of uniform or on the bus or playing with their kids in the park suddenly it becomes a detective puzzle to your brain. Takes a while to figure out sometimes too.

That's all I got to say for now.

11 comments:

Radmila said...

I once saw a waitress at a Korean restaurant that looked like my cousin..if my cousin were Asian.

Also, my father looks like one of the Tavares.

Stunner said...

Very true, a lot of persons do have very close resemblance to others, even if they are of different race. I think I once saw a man that looked like my grand uncle, only difference is my grand uncle is brown and this man was black.

I think we don't only use face to recognize people, we also associate them with where we see them and what we see them in also. So it's no surprise we get thrown off when we see them in other instances.

Abeni said...

We are all one hadmade as the older heads say.So no surprise peeps tend to have resemblances

Melody said...

Ah was joggin' at de park, an' then, "There's 'ABC' from de Chinese restaurant!" At de restaurant, he's all suited up, greetin' patrons an' assignin' waiters an' tables to dem, but at de park, he's in shorts -- all casual. He's always so chirpy an' friendly at de restaurant, I'm chirpily pointin' him out to mi hubby to say hi. De man barely pause fi acknowledge. Hubby says, "Him favour 'ABC' from de restaurant, eh, but where yu know that guy from?" Totally different personality. Totally different person. Then when ah saw 'ABC' again, ah was like, "How could I've ever thought that chubbyish stuck-up guy was him?"

Ruthibelle said...

LOL@Melody... It have several ppl I prefer to see in their professional capacity tho. Today you see that security guard in a suit looking spiffy-shades and all. Then tomorrow he's in a t-shirt and shorts, showing off the bird legs and the married-man belly (I should do a post bout married-man belly, lol)... quite a difference boy!!

But to comment more specifically bout the post, I get mistaken for this girl named Julie all the time. Till now I can tell the ppl that I know they think I'm Julie, but i'm not... and that they're only the 1,999,999th person to mistake me for her... grrr! Sooo annoying...

princessdominique said...

I hate when I have some gooooood posts and then I lose the thought and then never come back. They wander around out there somewhere in no mans land and that's why I just post 3 or 4 in a day sometimes and give the people a choice to comment on which they want to.

arachesostufo said...

gran bel blog, ti saluto da scorzè. salutatemi gigi quando arriva

Will said...

i am constantly mistaken for my brother or my best friend... i've given up now - when people call me kriss or robert i just wave and smile... seriously though - i can't see it... especially for my friend - we look nothing alike... a black friend laughed when i was moaning about this some time ago... she said: "boy! all uh you white people look the same!" lol...

i also have a bad habit of thinking that someone looks like someone else and going right up to them to give them a cherry hello... i must appear to be a weirdly over-friendly madman...

good post... glad you remembered this one... :-)

Mighty Afroditee said...

Lawd, I am pathetic at remembering people, and assimilating names with faces as well. I think that I have a tendency to recognise people by their group (herd? LOL) and when they are outside the herd, I cannot place them. And then, ther are the people who only recognise me with my bpyfriend, and when he is not there, they have difficulty recognising me in isolation...but, me nah tek it personally LOl!

dalia said...

i have a friend from grade school who is the white version of me. we went to different high schools in our teens, but the resemblance was so much so that a guy who went to her school in grade nine (then transfered to mine in grade ten), saw me one day and said "you look like the black version of this girl i know."

"oh yeah? who?" i asked.

"lisa chalmers," he replied.

"holy crap! that's my best friend!" i exclaimed.

he'd had no clue that the two of us even knew each other. i guess it's true that we all have a twin in the world, somewhere...

Olivia said...

I have Guyana Gyal to thank for introducing me to your blog.

Anyway, the semester at college after I had finished with the class I saw my trigonometry professor in the grocery store. Keep in mind, I had seen her 3 times per week for months. I passed her, stared quizzically, and she solved the mystery by exclaiming "Trig! It happens all the time!"

As for the racial equal, my Jewish friend with porcelain skin, dark hair and green eyes has a twin in her olive-skinned Greek coworker - they have the same hair type, facial structure, even body type and certain mannerisms. Uncanny.