I realized that I may come off shallow this morning. It took place at the coffee house where I spend hours each week being attended to by the barista's through serenade, great coffee, and great banter. After my order was place and paid for I made way to my second favorite seat. In the corner of my eye was a woman I thought I may have known before, but did not make that recognition known to her or companion through body language.
You see, I suffer from being very bad, and I mean truly awful, at names. Normally I am good with two things, a persons face and story. But names are fleet footed and run from my brain near as fast as when they are spoken. Yes, yes, tricks, repetition, association. Such as the main character Peter, in Peter in Flight, I have shaken my share of hands. A good story stays with me, the name never does.
My shallowness often comes across at this point. Who are you? When did we meet? Should I say anything? I am deciding before I say anything.
A great example of this took place roughly a year ago in this very spot. A very attractive woman started to look up from her coffee at me. It was more than that distant look into the distance while thinking and I just happened to be in her view. She was looking at me, recognizing me, almost, dare say, flirty? I would smile and be busy at work. Once and a while I would look up and our eyes would meet. My spidy senses would kick in, and I would look back to my writing.
About 30 minutes after she left, I realized who she was. Earlier in the week a "singles" website had matched us, I had written her, and I had gotten no reply. It was a virtual blow off, which is frequent today, followed by a physical shrug off. Had I immediately placed her, lord knows what I would have done or said, but still it took that long.
Today's encounter could have been one of many woman I could not place. Was it someone I had gone out with twice two years ago before parting ways and her getting married to the next man she dated? Was it that crazy woman from college that one of my roommates dated before moving on? Could it have been that woman I met for a brief romance eight years ago? I have no idea. Apparently it wasn't a good enough story for me to remember as it is more than thirty minutes later and I have no idea.
One of the worst moments of this was with friend from high school. It had not been even two years since I last saw him daily do a local cable access show. Paul, of the world famous Paul and Paul Show, was walking down the street in Chicago when he looked into the window of a Blockbuster Video store to see me. It was out of the place moment and time to recognize me, completely out of context to what he would have expected. So he banged on the window and got my attention, than ran inside to say hi. At the time I was a manager at the now defunct business, and very friendly with the hordes of unknown locals that frequented the store. He came expecting a hug and recognition and I provided friendly banter not knowing who he was or how I knew him. When the connection was finally revealed after several awkward moments and attempts to place him, he finally said "It's Paul!" Dear lord I felt small in the moment that has stayed with me always.
So, if I come off shallow, or too self involved, please, do not take offense. I am just catching up to the moment. I am trying to remember our connection. Did we hook up? Spend some time together? Make a cable access show in the 80's? Shake hands at a trade show booth in Las Vegas ten years ago? Was your photo on a website I sent a "like" to last week? Which school did we go to, because I have attended at least eight different schools in my life? It's not you – it is me.