I’m Not a Stalker…I’m Just Observant and Have a Good Memory

I’ve been told many times that I have a good memory for small, would-be insignificant stuff.  I’m not really talking about random facts and tid-bits but actual situations and converstations.  Specifically I have this knack for remembering odd trivia about people I meet only once or twice and am able to recall it years later.  I can only assume it’s because this trivia is all I have to associate with them.  That being said…it’s creepy.  Not so much to me because I can’t help what I remember, but to other people it’s bazare and comes across as disturbing, especially when by chance I meet up with said person later in life and am able to regurgitate facts about them.  It’s especially awkward when the person is a guy because there’s this automatic assumption that I’m infatuated with them when in truth it has nothing to do with them but everything to do with me. 

About a year and a half ago, I met up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a few years.  As we were talking about this and that he asked where I was living.  We were living in different towns about 20  min. away from each other but I described the location and apartment complex.  He had never been there before.  Nine or ten months later I run into this guy again.  As we’re catching up he says, “Are you still living in that same complex?” and proceeds to name the streets and intersection nearby.  I couldn’t help myself and responded with, “geez you stalker!”  I would like to add that I was laughing and reassured him that I too was a fellow memorizer and that I really didn’t think he was a stalker.  But in that moment I heard what it must sound like and could understand how non-memorizers could be alarmed.

So last night I went to a church activity.  As people were coming and mingling, I see this guy walk in that I immediately recognize from my days living in Hawaii 7 years ago.  We make eye contact for a second and because I’m not overtly outgoing in situations like that I turn my attention to something else – besides I only talked with him once or twice before so I was sure he wouldn’t make the connection.  To my surprise, he comes right over to me and says, “Didn’t I meet you back in Hawaii?”  And I responded that yes, we had met there before and we make small talk.  He asks me my name and then states his (as though I don’t know) and just because I don’t want to freak him out, I say something like, “Weren’t you friends with so and so’s brother?”, even though I know perfectly well that he was.  Matter of fact, I could not only recall his first and last name, how I met him, who he was friends with, I also remembered that he had lived in Puerto Rico for two years, had lived in Alaska for a summer to earning money on a fishing boat, which town and state he was from, and what town in Utah he had been living in.  YIKES!!  I know how this makes me sound…like a total stalker!  My only consolation was that maybe he too is a memorizer since he recognized me as well.  Maybe there are more of us out there than I thought.  But just in case there aren’t, I think I’ll stick to playing dumb.


15 thoughts on “I’m Not a Stalker…I’m Just Observant and Have a Good Memory

  1. I remember weird details, too… and often find myself pretending NOT to remember. “Aren’t you from… someplace down south… Georgia, maybe”? (When I know full well they’re from Atlanta.) Stuff like that. It’s almost become a weird habit at this point.

    Guess it’s better than the alternative – forgetting people’s names, etc.!

  2. I’m a memorizer too. It freaks my husband out because we’ll be out somewhere and run into someone, and I’ll play dumb. Then as soon as we get in the car to go home I can rattle off about a thousand small details about the person from the first time we met.

  3. I think it’s a family thing. I’ve freaked many a person out by spewing forth random facts about them. I met a girl when I was living in London and a group of us went to dinner one night. A few years later, she moved to DC and I saw her at church. We said hi and she asked if we’d met before and I said yes, in London. You’ve got a twin sister, you’re from Oregon, are allergic to whatever, work for so and so, and belonged to X sorority. She laughed nervously and we really didn’t speak again.

    This memory thing is both a blessing and a curse.

  4. bejewell: I like your idea of NOT remembering exactly. This may be better because you can come close to the right answer so the person thinks you have a pretty so so memory but it doesn’t weird them out with getting it exactly right. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

    morethananelectrician: LOL!! I knew it! I am a weirdo! Gee, thanks for making me feel so reassured. You know what’s interesting, is that you’re the only guy that left a comment on this post and you’re the only one that confirmed my “fear” about what others think when I do this…maybe I’m not alone after all. Maybe it’s a female thing…

    Lynnard: Amen!

    Sarah: I’m starting to think maybe it’s more of a woman thing and it’s just most guys that can’t remember details.

    PammyGirl: I agree, it’s both.

    gibsondog: Photogenic memory? Now that would be a great quality to have – but this one’s pretty ok too!

  5. Oooh… it happened this morning! A regular from my morning beach run came up and asked if we’d met before. I responded with, “Sure have. You’re Kevin from Boston and you were in the Navy for 40 years and live in that building.” Why oh why do I retain and share information about people who play no major role in my life?

  6. morethananelectrician: Well, I appreciate the honesty. Now that I know what I am, maybe I can use it to my advantage…a career in government maybe?

    Pammy Girl: Makes me wonder what people may remember and can recall about me…hmm. That might be interesting or scary.

  7. Have you ever considered the idea that you parents are actually spies?

    BTW, I have the same skill set. I remember everything and it really gets me in more trouble than good most of the time. It really is a learned skill, some develop it naturally and some are not ever capable. I have had some success in developing this skill in my wife and son.

    Now who is the weird one?

  8. i wishhhhhh i had a memory like yours. my best friend is kinda like that… she remembers more details of my life than i do. it’s sad. :-/

  9. Katy: First of all thanks for stopping by! This does come in handy sometimes but on the flip side you can appear to be crazy. Also sadly, it doesn’t work for important things like studying for tests or job related information.

  10. Yes! I totally do this too. I’m so glad you posted this it made me laugh. I have an espeically weird branch of this condition. I remember peoples birthdays REALLY well. Like once someone tells me their birthday I never forget it. Some poor boy from my 2nd grade class doesn’t even know that I know his birthday is May 12th still. And I used to always wonder if I should tell him happy birthday when I saw him… I didn’t…. I figured it might sort of freak him out. 🙂

  11. sadiesadie: Ah yes, birthdays! I remember them really well also and have found myself in the same situation that you mention. I did the same and kept it to myself rather than sharing.

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