Sean Meets the Face-Blindness Live and In-Person

I’ve written before, many times, about my horrible face-blindness.

My son Sean recounts a recent misadventure:

Our first La Mirada Disc Golf Saturday trip this year began with Dad and I making our ritual trip to McDonald’s for sweet, sweet Egg McMuffin action. The drive-through line was packed, and time was running out, so we ran inside.

I go to the fountain to fill my soda while Dad received our food, and I turn around to see him holding our bags and looking around, as though I had vanished into thin air (not an unfamiliar expression). I approach him with a wave of my drink hand, and start to say something as I get within I-know-you range of him. He gives me this look, like, you’re way too close to me; you are probably a crazy person in McDonald’s, and pushes me aside. He marches to the soda machine, puts his hand on the shoulder of a young 5’7″ half-Asian guy with short brown hair, a tee-shirt and shorts, says “Hey, boy, ready t… oh I’m so sorry, I thought you were my son,” as the stranger gives him the now-familiar you are probably a crazy person in McDonald’s look.

Now, admittedly, I am young, have short brown hair, and was, at the time, wearing a tee-shirt and shorts. But, he had to push the real Sean Chappell out of his way (waving a drink!) in order to confuse/distress this vague half-Asian approximation of me. Dad immediately realized that the weirdo he’d been recently accosted by was probably the next best guess as to where Waldo was, so we very quickly scrambled out of there.

Dad had, in the past, shared his harrowing tales of picking me up from school and having to guess at the identity of every vaguely-me person walking in his general direction (okay, he’s about Sean’s height; he’s walking right towards me, Sean would do that; he’s saying ‘Hi Dad’, there’s no one behind me; he’s probably Sean).

I never fully understood/believed these stories until that McDonald’s incident, but to Dad’s credit… I’ve known him my whole life and it took me this long to see the face-blindness rear its ugly head, so that’s pretty impressive coping.

In my defense, I think Sean must have been approaching me from my blind side (because I have some actual-blindness in addition to the face- kind, and I just literally didn’t see him as I brushed by him to accost his half-asian Doppelgänger. But yep, that’s my life, 24/7.

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