I’m forgettable in person. People are always mixing me up with other people. Those other people tend to not look anything like me and are occasionally male. It can be disheartening to work hard on an animal only to later have the owner insist that they only want to talk to the wonderful vet that saved their animal’s life and that is most certainly not you because they’ve never seen you before in their lives. Doesn’t matter that you talked to them every day for a week and all the records have your name on them.
But sometimes it has interesting consequences. Last week I walked into an exam room and the woman’s mouth dropped to the floor. “You…Look…Incredible!” she managed to get out.
What can you say to that? I said thanks and wondered what in the world she was talking about. She just kept staring at me with her mouth open. “You’ve lost weight!”
I looked at the chart and I last saw her in January. I’ve gained 10 lbs (at least) since January so I decide to let it go and start the exam. Later I figured it out. Since she’d seen me last she’d seen another vet in the office. It was about a month ago. That vet is about 100 lbs heavier than me and several inches taller. She must have us confused. If she thinks we are the same person then indeed a miracle did take place for me to lose the weight (and get my legs chopped off?) that quickly.
Just when I think that I’m perfectly set up for a life of crime since no witness would remember me, the opposite happens. At another clinic they have a women who comes in for heavy cleaning a few times a month. Over the years I’ve seen her just a few times. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her memory is failing rapidly. I saw her at the office last week. She said to me, “I saw you on TV. I was just watching and all of a sudden I said ‘I know her!'”
Ok, so her memory is going but not only did she recognize a person she’s only met a few times but she remembered to tell me about it a month later. The brain is a weird thing.