Surely you can’t be serious!
I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.
For some people, remembering a name comes easy. It can be six months or six years and your name is still sharp in their memory, along with your favorite cake and the medical history of your entire extended family. For others, like me, remembering a name can become an art form.
Several years ago we left The Known and struck out on a new adventure to another state. Mentally, I stayed in my hometown for several years to come. The things I ate, clothes I bought, and especially the the labels I used were all intrinsically connected the past, whether they were in actuality or not.
It should come as no surprise that I began referring to new people by the names of the old. Kind of like the old coffee commercial, where a voice whispers, “we’ve secretly replaced the regular Crud brand coffee with our Bowel Bounty beans. Let’s see if the customers notice.”
“Hello, my name is Jean.”
“Hi, Jean, nice to meet you.”
Jean looks like Sandra, who used to work at the deli. Therefore, Jean the dog groomer is, for all self-serving intents and purposes, Sandra. I may or may not refer to her dog grooming abilities the next time we meet, when she will squint her eyes and respond, “I’m allergic to dogs. And don’t call me Sandra.”
Now that I’ve expanded my name game to include professions, things have become even more awkward. I really like visiting with “Eddy,” The Guy Who Looks Like He Should Be A Jockey.
You can understand why it has taken me many years to build friendships.