Yes, when you see Familiar Brown-Haired Man walk by the bus stop or Curly Redhead Lady eating fries in the food court you suddenly do a double-take and think “Wait … I know them from somewhere.”
That’s when you stop chewing your gum, stop talking to your friends, and stop sending blood to non-vital organs. That’s when all the tiny men in your head wake up, put on their boots, and fire pole down to your brain’s dusty archives. Suddenly they’re fishing through files, scanning databases, and booting up old hard drives to comb every nook and neuron you’ve got for trace clue of who you’re looking at.
Photos flash of high school dances, first jobs, and college parties. You try putting facial hair on them in your head. You think about old friend’s girlfriends, people who owe you money, and friend’s friends or cousin’s cousins who you might have met just once.
Maybe you don’t recognize them for a while simply because they’re out of context. Yes, it’s your old grade school teacher squeezing melons at the grocery store, your barber in a jumpsuit jogging in the park, or the secretary from your old job sweating buckets on the treadmill.
Sometimes it seems like they’re looking at you the exact same way too. You sort of wonder if their little brain men are combing through databases or you wonder if they recognize you but just aren’t saying anything.
Yes, you wonder and you wonder, you think and you think, you stare and you stare, until!
And that’s a beautiful moment of sweet relief. Little brain men cheer, smoke comes out your ears, and a slow and satisfied smile curls onto your face as you finally place the mystery person.
Then maybe you say hi or something.