The Oldie

I’m face-blind


SIR: I thoroughly enjoyed Charlotte Metcalf’s amusing and well-observed piece ‘Conversati­on-stoppers’ in the February issue. I recognised every one of the ‘Blockers’ she so accurately depicted – I’ve suffered at all their hands, or lips.

The only thing is ... the last type, ‘the Amnesiac’, is me. I hate to bore you but listen, everyone: some of us – about one person in 50, it’s thought – are genuinely poor at recognisin­g and rememberin­g faces. The condition is called prosopagno­sia – you can look it up. It isn’t an age or eyesight thing at all; there’s a wee bit of my brain that doesn’t work as well as it should. It’s lifelong and there’s no remedy. I hate it when I should know who someone is but don’t – and, far, far worse, I often have no clue at all that I’ve ever met that person over there, so I don’t even acknowledg­e him or her; unless he or she speaks first.

So please be nice. Say ‘Hello’ and be patient with us, the face-blind two per cent. We really can’t help it, though I do apologise for banging on about it.

As for the rest of the Blockers – Charlotte’s dead right – avoid at all costs! Bill Wright, Ayrshire

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