This weekend I was approached not once but twice by men in a bar* who, upon eye contact , smiled with the radiance of a brilliant sunrise, came over, and said hello! I remember you! I recognized the situation at once:
“The man coming towards me recognizes me from the past. He remembers me but I haven’t the foggiest who they are. Think fast, rabbit!“
This is not a rare event. Sometimes they are patients**, but most of the time they are not. I have only a few seconds to decide whether to bluff my way long enough to connect the dots and recall who they are, or admit I’m at at loss. It is never the other way around viz. I recognize someone but they don’t remember me. I hope they remember some positive attribute rather than I made an ass of myself. They don’t explain how or why they remember me and I don’t ask.
The first gentleman was a bartender from a bar where Someone and I used to go on Sunday afternoons to hear show tunes, before the bar changed generas. Considering we did not go often or drink much I fail to understand how he does this. In his defense he didn’t recall my name, but he remembered I was the one who wanted a ‘proper manhattan, no rubbish’. So there it is.
The second gentleman was with his partner. He remembered me (of all things!) from a July 4th BBQ which occurred two summers ago. This is a tad unsettling for I have only a vague memory of being among a crowd of strangers and not saying much or staying long. They were nice fellows; we exchanged information on the possibility to get together sometime.
I suppose I should be flattered, but it worries me. I can’t blame old age (yet) or memory loss from intoxication (hopefully) nor acting idiotic in public (hopefully not). I wish I had better recall of people’s names, or at least that I have met them before. I hear tell you can take a course from Mr. Dale Carniege who assures me I will be a wiz at remembering everyone I meet at the next bake sale.
The other concern raised is a failure to keep in touch. Every time I encounter one of these types they remind me there was a brief attempt at forming a friendship but it fizzled. After a decade of living in Arizona I haven’t been very successful at making local, lasting friends. I suppose this requires time and effort – and perhaps some sacrifice of other endeavors.
I plan to call the second gentleman caller and spouse and propose we go out for supper or a beer. It would be nice to be more than memory.
- Not only did this double encounter occur in the same bar on different nights, it is not in a gay bar either.
** Patient have the advantage they remember the ‘beard and bow tie’ combination, which are worn on most social occasions, like Saturday night.