On TV, it works in about three seconds and it's right every time. I want it. I know the face is familiar, but where have I seen it, what is my connection to it, and most importantly, what name is attached to it?
It happens often at book signings, but first, know this: I taught school for many years. Decades, even. Figure somewhere between a hundred fifty to two hundred students each year. Then add in all the people I worked with, especially those who moved on after only a year or two: teachers, administrators, even bus drivers. That’s a lot of people. In addition to my old career, there's my new one. I have gone to a few author conferences every year for a decade or so. There I meet author after author, fan after fan. Now add in book signings, book groups, bookstore staff, and book producers: editors, agents and the like, not to mention writing groups that ask me to come and talk about how to get started in publishing. There are even people I’ve “met” only online. I’ve seen their photos on their websites, in their books, and on Goodreads or Amazon.
So back to that book signing. A woman walks by and says, “Well, how are you? It’s been a while.” “Um, hello…there.” “I see you’re still writing. Are you enjoying it?” “Um, yes. I love it.” (Of course I’m thinking, Who is she who is she whoisshe????)
Lots of times the name comes to me after the person has gone away, which is sad, but at least I can stop obsessing about it. This time, I thought I had it. On the way home, a name came to me, the name of an author I’d spent some time with more than a year ago. But when I got home and checked her website, I was wrong. The face in the picture didn't match the face I'd just seen.
So here's what I want: facial recognition software built into my phone. When someone approaches who obviously knows me from somewhere, I’ll pretend I’m reading my email, snap a picture, and run the software until the name comes up. Then I can say, “Yes, I still love writing, Angela Mansolopolis. And do you still have that collie you were so fond of?”