In Waterstone's bookshop, a manager or sales rep is summarising to an assistant the contents of books which are about to be delivered. The synopses come with the rapidity of a machine gun: "It's a biography. She was living in Florence", I hear "...She was killed by her husband.... It's got a nice cover."
"A Rolls Royce of a Burger," announces a poster outside a restaurant.
In the queue to buy a paper, I see a familiar face in an unfamiliar place. I am about to greet her but can't remember who she is. It is only when I stop for a cup of tea at my favourite cafe that I notice an absentee, the proprietor. It is she whom I have just failed to put a name to in the newsagent.
There is apparently a name for that condition when you can't recognise faces out of context. I suffer from it to an inordinate degree, and am very discombobulated whenever such a situation arises. I have to rely on Tom who is very good on faces but useless with names, which I'm OK with. Another happy instance of the Jack Spratt syndrome at work.
I'm glad I'm not alone. I wonder if ever I shall have the chance to use the word "discombobulate". Heidi can't remember the names of streets, though she has a brilliant sense of direction.
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