Don’t I know you from somewhere?

It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes someone will come up to me and say “Where do I know you from?”

I know that it is because of this blog, so I usually say “Do you read blogs?” and then I watch the penny drop.

Have you ever met someone, or saw someone and swear you know them from somewhere, but you just cannot put your finger on it? When you see a familiar face in an unfamiliar context. Like when you get into a shopping centre lift and your gynaecologist is standing there, and asks you which floor you need. And you stand there and think “I know you from somewhere….” but you don’t work it out until three days later with your feet in the air at the doctor’s surgery and she starts putting latex gloves on…

One of the most memorable unmemorable recognitions that happened to me was a few years ago. I was at the supermarket and had finished my hunting and gathering. I lined up at the checkout and standing in front of me was a woman. She was older, quite short and had a kind looking face which I recognised, but I was not sure where from. I looked in her basket and she had sensible items such as bananas, skim milk and tea bags. I am not sure why this is important to this story.

Anyway, there I stood wracking my brain about where I knew her from.

And then it hit me! She was my high school English teacher.

“Excuse me.” I said “I think you used to be my English teacher….” And then I went on to tell her that I ended up becoming a writer and I rabbitted on a LOT. She didn’t say much but was very polite, nodded and smiled at all the right places. When I eventually took a breath she told me that although she had trained as a teacher, she had not taught at the school that I was talking about.

This threw me! Where did I know this woman from?

She began to load her sensible groceries onto the conveyor belt when the thunderbolt hit me and I kind of died a little bit inside.

My new friend was Janette Howard, the wife of our past Prime Minister John.

I was embarrassed enough to keep my big trap shut. She paid for her groceries and gave me a cheery little wave goodbye and then I urged the floor to open up and swallow me.

Has something similar ever happened to you?

Who was it and where were you?