One of the things that really drives me crazy is when someone says hi to me and starts talking as if we’re long-lost pals, and throughout the entire conversation I’m thinking to myself…“Who the heck are you?”
Two such incidents happened last week. The first one, I was shopping in a discount store when an attractive, well-dressed woman came up to me, smiled from ear to ear and said, “Helloooo! How are you?”
I stared at her for a moment, having no clue whatsoever who she was, and said, “I’m fine! And you?”
I don’t know whether it was my voice or my lack of instant recognition, but the woman’s smile faded. “I DO know you, don’t I?” she asked.
I wasn’t certain how to answer that question. She may have known me, but I was pretty positive I didn’t know her. “Um…you look familiar,” I lied.
“You do, too,” she said. “But I don’t know from where.”
I made a mental list of everywhere I’d been in the past few months where I might have run into an attractive, blond, businesswoman type. Everything from my accountant to my gynecologist’s office came to mind. I drew a blank.
“Well, my photo is in the paper every week with my column,” I said. “Maybe that’s why I look familiar.”
She eyed me thoughtfully. “No…that’s not it.”
“What’s your name?” I asked her. She said it was Lorrie. It didn’t ring a bell. “I’m Sally,” I said.
I could tell by her expression that “Sally” rang no bells for her, either.
“Well, Sally, she finally said. “It’s been nice talking to you.”
“Nice talking to you, too, Lorrie,” I said.
And that ended that.
A few days later, I was in another store, when I had the opposite problem. I was the one who thought someone looked familiar.
As the cashier rang up my purchases, I kept staring at him. He looked like someone I knew, yet I couldn’t place him. For one thing, he had a beard and was wearing glasses. I had the feeling that the last time I’d seen him, wherever that might have been, he was clean-shaven and bare-eyed.
I discreetly glanced at his nametag, hoping to find some clue. The tag was flipped over, so only the back of it was visible, which was no help…unless I wanted to know the name of the company that had printed the tag. So I struck up a conversation with him, thinking maybe his voice would jar my memory.
“I’m buying dog treats for my two rottweilers!” I said.
“And the sunflower seeds are for my bird feeder,” I added.
Again, he smiled.
I was beginning to think the guy had laryngitis.
Finally, as I was leaving the store, another employee called out to him, “Brian! When are you taking your break?”
When I got home, I said to my husband, “I think I saw Brian today – you know, the guy who used to live across the street from us before we moved. But I’m not sure.”
He frowned at me. “We lived across the street from him for years, and we moved away only three years ago – and you’re not sure? Why? Did he gain 100 pounds?”
I shook my head. “He has a beard…and glasses. And he didn’t say hi to me or show any signs of recognizing me…and I know for a fact that I haven’t changed at all.”
My husband looked as if he wanted to laugh, but wisely didn’t. “Well, maybe it was just some bearded guy who looks like Brian,” he said. “And his name also just happens to be Brian.”
I rolled my eyes. “What are the odds of that happening? I don’t know, it seem as if the older I get, the more people’s names and faces I forget. It’s frustrating…and embarrassing.”
“Well, you can always use my surefire method for avoiding situations like that,” he said. “It works great for me.”
“And what’s that?” I asked, hoping for some useful information.
He smiled smugly. “Just stay home and don’t go anywhere.”
I’m not sure why, but I had the sudden urge to forget where I knew him from, too.