Yesterday I was listening the podcast of the This American Life episode called "20 Acts in 60 Minutes." One of the acts is a man telling the story of seeing and greeting someone, and having no idea where he knows her from. Then agonizing over this until he sees her at the drive-thru window of his coffee spot...explaining the reason he felt that he might be in love with her.
So I thought this was very funny, because I am often having this "where do I know you from" dialogue in my head about people I pass on the street, or see at restaurants, or social gatherings. I have an impeccable memory. There was time when I could recall what I was wearing on any given day of a month, and on days many months before when something only minorly significant had happened. When Nathan was filling out med school applications, he called me to figure what his extracurriculars were in 1999. For real. But I seem to be fading.
Today I was walking to get some lunch (at 4pm) and saw these two women huddled next to a building smoking. I looked over at them, noticing the scarf that one of the women was wearing and deciding that it wouldn't work for me. Then one of the women excitedly greeted me, and asked me how I was. I, while continuing to walk, returned her greeting and then went on my way. I can say with great certainty, I have no idea who this woman was. None. There were some people that ran through my head, but they were discounted as they do not smoke, and it would make no sense for someone to start smoking in their mid-thirties. On the way back to my office, I found myself hoping that they were still out there, so I could stop and talk and gain some context clues, so I could know if it was a work, or church, or school, or social connection. But no such luck. The good news is I can enter 2009 knowing that I will never again get upset because someone does not remember me. But, sadly, also with the knowledge that someone might be kind of upset that I would just walk on by when we shared so much, so long ago.