I was at O’Hare Field last weekend – off to Florida for a Saturday wedding. At the airport, I walked by hundreds – perhaps thousands – of people. And I didn’t recognize a soul. One or two caused a second glance – is that . . . . no. We arrived at the Miami Airport and again saw a veritable sea of people. All shapes, sizes and attire. And not one person did I recognize. All had the same standard equipment. Face. Nose. Eyes. Ears. Hair. But all were supremely different (some really different).
Yet on our arrival at our Florida destination, even from a distance I could pick out friends. There’s Bill. There’s Jim. There’s. . . . I find it pretty awesome that we – as humans – all have this facial recognition software hardwired into our brains. We can pick out someone we haven’t seen in ten years in a crowd of thousands. We can detect an old friend from across the room (“well look who’s here!“). And these faces – and what we perceive to be an evolution of them – is reposed with clarity and order in the gray matter between our ears. As we know, some people change dramatically and become literally unrecognizable. But most retain some of the remembered characteristics from years past. I remember seeing Jon H. – an old friend from Boy Scout camp – at O’Hare. I knew him in an instant. It’s amazing how our brains work.
Now where did I leave my keys. . . . .