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Monday, 01 August 2011


By Jeanne Waite Follett of Gullible's Travels

I recently discovered that I was infected with a virus while still in utero. Whether the virus originated with my mother or whether she was a carrier, I don’t know.

I do know that she exhibited many of the same symptoms that I have had throughout my lifetime.

There is no treatment or cure for this ailment and, in fact, its symptoms grow exponentially with age.

None of the myriad diseases affected by the research into Henrietta Lack’s malignant cells has any bearing on my problem. If you don’t understand my reference here to Henrietta Lacks, then you really must read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

But back to my problem.

As a result of that virus, my facial recognition software is corrupted. Combine this with my Random Access Memory (RAM) becoming more random with each advancing year, and my ability to recognize faces and access their correct file name is severely impaired.

I first became aware of my mother’s symptoms when I was 19. I had by this time left the parental network and set up my own.

A chance meeting at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store provided the first clues. I turned down an aisle and saw my mother before she saw me so when I approached her, I had the advantage of having my browser fully functioning. Hers was not.

When my network initiated contact with hers, there was a long pause during which her RAM and Facial Recognition software failed to connect. I watched the brief episode with interest as she went through the process: female, late teens, bears a strong familial resemblance, ergo must be a daughter. Two daughters are with me, ergo must be eldest daughter. Name – uh, Jeanne.

“Oh, hi, Jeanne.”

My father, on the other hand, seemed to have no problem in this regard, though in searching my various files, it is quite possible he concocted names without premeditation.

I have attempted to defrag, with limited results.

My system seems to work best when faces are encountered in situ familiar, but fails miserably when their situ is not where I expect their situ.

Dark glasses further compound this which is the reason I did not recognize a neighbor named Dave until the hostess mentioned that Dave had brought his guitar and was getting ready to sing.

I looked at the folks gathered around the bonfire and saw the fellow who had earlier said hello to me and whom I had not recognized. Because of his dark glasses, I tell you.

A couple days ago, I took my truck to a repair shop in Seward. I did not recognize Sue, who was NOT wearing dark glasses, until she mentioned following my blog. My processor began writing an error message immediately. I looked at the name embroidered on her vest: “SUE.”

I did not expect Sue to be behind the service counter because Audrey had called that morning regarding the truck situation. Audrey was supposed to be there, not Sue. Not even the name on the vest had given me a clue until I realized this was not Audrey.

Software! Good grief.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Clever writing, Jeanne. I recently encountered a woman I know who was not in her usual habitat. She smiled and said hello and it took a moment before I put a name to the familiar face.

I remember saying decades ago that if my own mother were to show up at my door unannounced, I wouldn't recognize her!

For some time, "Gullible's Travels" has rated most creative blog title in my book. Reading this nifty story is an indication of how you were able to come up with a clever label like that one.

Wow! What a fun story....It reminded me of a time when I eavesdropped on some older gentlemen in a little country restaurant in the backwoods of Pennsylvania.

The conversation went like this.

"I seen Walt yesterday."

"That weren't Walt."

"Yeah,that were Walt. It were wrote right on his shirt."

"That weren't his shirt!"

That's when I gave up listening,but eavesdropping is so much fun.

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