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Every day she’s different


A student in one of my classes is a round Hispanic woman in her 30s. She is very nice, very smart, very detailed, takes good notes, and asks pertinent questions. She has it all together, and she is an asset to this team.

She also wears her hair differently every day. Sometimes it’s up, other times it’s down. Sometimes it’s wavy, or curly, or straight. It’s always the same color, but the shape is different every day.

This causes me problems, because not only am I terrible with names, but I also have trouble recognizing human faces. It’s not outright prosopagnosia, but it’s enough of an impediment to cause social discomfort. Basically, I recognize people by categories of color, size, gender, shape, hair, clothing, and voices. Obvious scars or consistent jewelry help also. If you were cats, it would be easier, because your striping patterns and colors, plus your body size and tail shape, would help me out. But you’re not cats, you’re humans. So I rely on your hair, clothing, and body shape to stay the same from one day to the next so that I can recognize you.

This student doesn’t do that. If she didn’t sit in the same seat every day, I would have difficulty remembering who she is. When she speaks, I know her voice, and the confusion vanishes. But if I see her in the hallway or in the lunchroom, and her hair is different, I am always hesitant to call her by what I think is her name, because it might not be her. There are many round Hispanic women here.

If only she would stay the same, from one day to the next.

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