i have a vivid imagination, and it is especially active when it comes to other people. i frequently associate people with things they remind me of — animals, fictional characters, other people, etc. although this sometimes is in reference to people i know well (a close friend, for example, is a baby bird), it’s usually with people i know slightly or don’t know at all.
a perfect example of this habit is two people in my office. our company has many departments and is spread out over two floors, so one doesn’t necessarily know the people one catches glimpses of in the hallways or the loo. one day i was quietly washing my hands, minding my own business as far as imagination went, when in through the door popped a very interesting lady i’d never seen before. she was shorter than i, and a bit on the plump side, but looked very nice, indeed. she had light blonde hair and blue eyes and looked very dutch, in a way. the next several times i saw her i was reminded of a white rabbit, but then i decided she was definitely anne of cleves. she has been so to me ever since, for i’ve never thought to stop and ask her name. i suppose i should, to be polite, but that would somehow break the enchantment.
the other example starts out much like the first. i was walking into work one morning, half asleep and totally oblivious, when i woke up enough to realize someone was walking behind me. i somehow caught a partial glimpse of him and recognized he wasn’t anyone i knew. for some reason i felt a bit frightened and so walked into the building without once turning round to look at him (i sort of held the door open in that polite way you do for people who are behind you when you don’t want to make it look like you’re doing it on purpose) and then very quickly scooted up the four sets of stairs and, panting slightly, made for the (relative) safety of my cube. and that was that, until the next day or so, when it happened again. i didn’t see the mysterious person for a while after that, until i almost ran into him coming out of the breakroom one pizza friday.
he’s also a very interesting-looking person. he has a sort of raw face, with shaggy hair and a permanently scruffy beard. he also never seems to be able to find shirts with arms big enough to fit his muscles, which i think is rather funny. at first i thought he was a robin hood type, but then, after some consideration and examining the way he sort of swaggers when he walks, i decided he was heathcliff from emily bronte’s wuthering heights. admittedly all i know about heathcliff comes from reading the thursday next books by jasper fforde, but that’s quite enough.
if you’re thinking by now that my mind works in decidedly odd ways i’d be inclined to agree with you, but i usually have fun with it … and it’s a good exercise in observation for the novelist lurking under my skin.