I took a trip to my home-town yesterday to observe my sister’s kindergarten class. (Reasons for this will be disclosed at a later date.) She walked me around the school, my old elementary stopping ground and the same building in which our father taught hundreds of children (me included), Art. But, my overflowing-nostalgia post has already been written and is not the point of this one, so I’ll move on.
We walked into the main office and chatted for a while with old family friends, friends of my Dad and now my sister’s colleagues. Upon exiting, I turned to one of the gentlemen and said,
“Nice to meet you!”
Once the door clicked behind us, my sister sighed and put her hand up to her forehead.
“Emily. You know him He was in your high school class. ”
Dammit. I refuse to be held responsible for this mental malfunction.
This story is one of many. It happens all the time. I have a problem. A serious and concerning problem.
All too often, I run into people both from my youth and my professional lifetime, that run toward me, yell my name, and embrace me with fervor.
I’m blank. Completely blank. Often I recognize them, but can’t place what school we attended at the same time or which show we did together. It’s embarrassing. And, if embarrassing was all it was, I would deal with it, wait for my cheeks to drain the red and move on. But, it’s rude and inconsiderate, and comes across as an aloof disregard for other humans with whom I cross paths.
The list of my flaws is approximately fourteen miles long, but I can assure you that “rude”and “inconsiderate” are not two of the qualities making up that mileage.
I care about every person I meet. In fact, I still feel badly that I didn’t offer an appropriate “Goodbye” to the stranger I was briefly chatting with on train today. So, I don’t believe this indicates a tendency to devalue my fellow-man due to an inflated ego. If you have read even a handful of my entries, have received an email or two, or have met me, you most likely agree that the mere suggestion of that idea is ludicrous.
I simply have some sort of face/name amnesia. Either I spend very little time present enough to make lasting memories, or I get so nervous about hurting people’s feelings that I create a mental block that freezes my brain and all data stored inside it.
I’m choosing to believe the latter. The first possibility is too depressing.
But, the other day I back-flipped over proof that I’m not alone. I was at an audition, and ran into a girl with whom I roomed on my first national tour. She looked at me and shouted,
Thank you, Jesus.
I corrected her and reminded her of our shared bunks across the country. I also explained that she absolutely made my day by calling me “Mary”.
Because, when people remember my name, it just makes me feel bad.
And, how dare you?