The third possibility

Sometimes you get that flash of recognition don’t you. That feeling of “I know that person from somewhere.” And seconds later you enter into one of four states.

One possibility is that you stay wondering desperately tying to figure out where you know this person from. In this scenario there are three subsets either you are certain that you know them but can’t quite place them and the annoyance at not being able to remember their name is so strong that you just go and ask them. Or you want to do this first thing but are too embarrassed and can’t or thirdly you aren’t truly sure that you remember them so you say nothing and it bugs you for the rest of your life.

The second possibility is that you remember them and go and talk to them. This is common I suppose but somehow not as common as…

The third possibility. They recognise you and come and talk to you. This, in my experience, is much more common than the second possibility but in reality it can’t be. Because from their point of view they are seeing the encounter as “possibility two”.

Or there is the fourth. And this is quite a subtle one. You both see each other. You both recognise each other. You both remember exactly why you never bothered to keep in touch all these years and so you both continue to ignore each other. The only problem is that I can’t remember anyone’s names. So all of these people get ot go off to their friends and say “you’ll never guess who I saw the other day.”
“Who?” they’ll ask.
“Alex Andronov”
“Really?”
“Yes.”
“Did you talk to him?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“I always hated him.” Or whatever.

The thing is that I can’t do that to them. My conversations go something like this.

“He was kind of short and wore shorts.”
“We were all short and worse shorts. We were at school.”
“I know! This is useless isn’t it.”
“Yes.”

And I know they’re right. It is useless.

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