Thursday, June 03, 2004

Recognition in social situations. I have a reasonably good memory for faces, if not names, and I spot people I know vaguely all the time, like on the streets and at social events, and I can usually tell exactly where I know them from. The trouble is that the other person usually doesn't know me at all and I would only humiliate myself if I acknowledged them or - gasp! - tried to TALK to them! So I have to pretend I don't know them.

Like last night, I was walking across Swanston St from the Lounge to Cookie (yes, it was another drinking session with Saige!) and I saw this blonde chick who used to work at Lobotomy Caf (aka Cafe Sahara) and then subsequently worked at Field Works with me. I think her name is Catherine. She was a fine art student. But I knew that if I smiled at her in recognition, she probably wouldn't recognise me and would think I was weird. (Which I am, but anyway.)

But it pisses me off when I am reasonably sure that the other person knows who I am, but still pretends to ignore me. Like Penny's rude little friend Kane, who has been introduced to me many times and still never talks to me, except with extreme reluctance. A couple of weeks ago I cornered him behind the bar at Gin Palace, where he pretends to be humiliated at having to wear the poncy waistcoat but I think secretly loves it, and asked him straight out, "Do you know who I am?"

"You're Penny's friend," he replied. That doesn't rile me as much as it did a few years ago, but I still get pissed off at not being recognised as a person in my own right, instead as just some constant appendage to Penny. Now that I have a day job, Tash has taken over the mantle of Omnipresent Penny's Friend, except she cares much less than me about inflicting her personality on others. So in the eyes of people like Kane, she actually gets to have her own identity, while I, who actually spend far less time with Penny, still exist solely as "Penny's friend." That seems somewhat unjust to me. But anyway. Back to the Gin Palace. I enunciated carefully to Kane, "My name is Mel." I also pointed out that I work with his ex-girlfriend Lucy, just to give him another point of reference so that hopefully he will no longer snub me.

It also bothers me that over the last few months I have been seeing this chick Texta around the traps. Texta knows me in two ways. I met her at the start of this year when she came to see the film Honey with us. I even sat next to her in the cinema, and we laughed in the same places in the film. Second, she is a very good friend of John, my now-ex-housemate Chimere's boyfriend. Damn, I should have told him to "say hi from me!" when I was talking to him on Sunday. Just to freak her out.

Because she has little excuse for pretending she doesn't recognise me in social situations, yet that's precisely what she does. It's got to the point where I'll spot her, try and make eye contact with her, and she won't look at me, and I'll start to doubt myself: I'll start to wonder if it was even her, or if it was just a trick of my imagination!!!

The last time was just on Saturday night; I went to see Ladiez of the League with Felicity. (Yo check it Tony Mitchell!) They were awesome; what I liked best about them was their almost-amateur nature, like it wasn't unattainable for a normal schmo like me to be a skipping, rapping legend. There was also an amazing drag king act with these booty ho back-up dancers. They were so amazing! I loved the costumes! The booty hos were wearing gold boob tubes and those hotpants with "Can't Touch This" on the butt-cheeks, which I happen to know are from Supré. The drag kings were wearing gold lamé tracksuits. One of them had this black fur wrap around his neck, the other one had shitloads of gold chains. No detail was unthought-of.

But anyway, I was leaving and I was sure I spotted Texta in the crowd milling around. If it was her, she's put some red dye through her hair. I thought, "Nah, maybe it wasn't her," but then something about the way that chick seemed to recognise me, yet wouldn't look me in the eye, made me think, "Dammit, that was her!" I'm beginning to wonder if I'm paranoid, or delusional, or paranoid-delusional. I suppose the only cure for this situation is actually to acknowledge every vague acquaintance, every barperson and shop assistant I see on the street, recklessly disregarding the humiliation and self-abasement that will inevitably result from them not recognising me.

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