Friday, January 06, 2006

To the best of my recollection

Lately I've found myself examining the people around me - on the train, on the sidewalk, in stores - and wondering; if something were to go down, some crime or catastrophe, would I be able to identify them clearly and specifically after the fact?

It's a strange thought, it made me realize just how little I examine my daily life. Could I dictate a police sketch of the person that sat across from me this morning?
If I met someone in passing two years ago and they committed a crime in the present, could I recognize them now?

I also realized that I lack the language to properly describe facial characteristics. How can I be sure that the "tufted bangs" and "sloping forehead" and "prominent jaw" that I would describe mean the same thing to someone else?

Hell, sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder if it really is me staring back. The real me? The same one as yesterday? Are you sure?


Andreas said...

there's this experiment in which an unsuspecting person on the street is approached by somebody carrying a map and asking for directions.
Then a distraction is generated during which the experimenters exchange the person asking for directions with a completely different person in the same outfit with the same map. Almost nobody notices.

Brendan said...

That is brilliant.