Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Po and Prosopagnosia

The DC where I volunteer put on their annual Volunteer Appreciation Event last night. I was a little hesitant to go, despite how much I love the DC, as I don't really have any particular friends there. But then, they said that Naheed Nenshi was going to be speaking, despite having to break pretty much every one of his rules about which events he attends in order to come. So I figured, hey, worst case scenario I eat some food and listen to Nenshi. And maybe I'll even have fun.

I did have fun. The conversation at my table was friendly and animated. And since it was at the zoo, Telus donated a bunch of plush hippos to decorate the tables, one of which I claimed early to take home with me. I named him Po and love him way more than I should love a stuffed animal.

As I was listening to the speakers, Po sat on the table in front of me while I absentmindedly scratched his head. You know, like in the same way you'd massage the space between a little kitten's ears. The guy across the table from me watched bemusedly and tried to conceal a laugh when I noticed that he noticed me crooning over a stuffed toy.

The evening was lovely, but here's the problem with being a Leadership Volunteer with poor face-name recall: Some of the people you help to train recognize you, remember your name and eagerly greet you, bringing up details you told them about yourself... and you feel like you've seen them around somewhere. And then you feel just awful because you do actually care about them you just... don't remember them. Sigh. Let it be known forthwith that I shall put more effort into remember people so they don't feel like dirt. Also, I might make more friends that way. The volunteer coordinator can remember the names of all three hundred plus volunteers after meeting them like, once. Why can't I?

The first guy who recognized me said that he remembered me because of all the Leadership Volunteers, I had "given him the most candid feedback" during training. That is to say, I didn't tell him that he was entirely awesome in every way, but told him to fix some things. Apparently he appreciated that. At any rate, he remembered it. The second guy who recognized me (and saw me fawning over Po) could repeat back what I had told him about my hypothetical plans for the future and comment on how they were developing. His face was vaguely familiar. Sigh. I felt really bad about that one, but he was a good sport. And I don't think I'll forget him again.

Anyway, apart from feeling like a bag for forgetting people, it was a good time. You should volunteer. Not necessarily at the DC, though they definitely know how to make you enjoy volunteering there. Just volunteer somewhere. You might get a stuffed hippo.

"Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless." Sherry Anderson 


Art said...

Remembering names is difficult. I have tried several trick to remember names but it does not seem to last for more than a few days.

You did not comment on Nenshi's speech. Was it inspiring?

Carla said...

I found the fact that he had to break every rule to come rather inspiring. The speech itself was pretty formulaic, about the "3 things" initiative. But it was good.