I’ve been told on numerous occasions that I have a familiar face. I remind people of aunts, cousins, nieces, grandmothers, sisters, former bosses or secretaries, neighbors and co-workers. That could be a problem if I were in witness protection. I probably wouldn’t last very long.
I’ve had complete strangers walk up to me in restaurants and swear that I am their relation from years back. Am I sure my name isn’t Mildred? Yes, I’m sure. And have I ever lived in Scranton? No, I have never lived there. Dang. And they walk away shaking their head.
If someone is staring at me, I know it isn’t really me they’re seeing. They’re probably trying to figure out why Aunt Matilda would be at a rest area in Wyoming when she hates driving and lives in Miami Beach.
With little kids it’s different. They just see a friendly face. I try to remember to smile at the ones strapped in a grocery cart. It’s fun to watch them notice that I’ve noticed them. Sometimes I’ll throw in a wink and they all but giggle with delight. It’s like we have a secret, just shared eye to eye. There’s an occasional nap-deprived grouchy kid, but mostly the response is delightful.
I think the familiar face thing I have going on has helped me get a job or two. So far, I haven’t ever had anyone say I remind them of someone they didn’t like. Maybe “nice” comes with a face like mine. I don’t know.
I’ve occasionally run across someone who seems familiar in an eerie way and decide they remind me of what I see in the mirror. I’m not intrigued. I’m freaked out by it. I tend to run the opposite direction. Who’d want to have a conversation with themselves? Not me. No way. They’d probably think I was off my rocker if I told them they reminded me of me. Wouldn’t you?
No one really likes being stared at. It’s disconcerting. Feels a bit like someone’s casing the joint. If you see someone who seems familiar, try not to stare too much. It might be me you’re staring at.
I need to come up with some great responses, ready to go without any thinking about it, to the next few people who think I’m their great-aunt Martha. I’m not THAT old, for one thing.
What do you say to someone when they say they remind you of someone else? Has it ever happened to you? Now if someone said, “wow, you remind me of Kathy Bates,” I’d be totally flattered and say thank you. I’m sure no one ever goes up to Kathy Bates and says “hey, you remind me of this blogger I know, Kami Tilby. Ever read her stuff?” She’d just stare back at you like you’d had one too many drinks.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bothersome thing. Just weird. I suppose in the afterlife I could be one of those guardian angels that aren’t scary. Imagine the stories. “Yeah, I had this angel who looked just like Grandma show up just in the nick of time, saved my life.”
Until then, I suppose I’ll just be that familiar, friendly face in the crowd, across the restaurant, or in the car next to you at the stop light. Just smile and wave as if you know me. I’ll wave back. I’ll probably even give you a wink and a smile.