An all too familiar scene:
Me, squinting: “Hey yourself, mmpphh.” Do I know you? Is that a woman?
Her: “How’ve you been?”
Me, smiling, mind furiously racing: “Great! Never better! How are YOU?” Client? Works out at the Y? Teller at one of the banks? Jane’s co-worker from her daughter’s wedding 4 months ago?
Her: “Can’t complain. How’s Bill?”
Me, heartily: “You know Bill! Same old, same old.” How do you know Bill? Fellow Rotarian? School board? Old classmate? Wife of old classmate? Mary Alice’s husband’s cousin’s wife, who I spent 5 minutes with at the New Year’s Eve party???
Her: “What are the girls up to?”
Me, stalling: “Both away at college – hard to believe. And your….family?” Knows the kids. Teacher? Parent of their friends? High school? Grade school? Sports team?
Her: “One is away, but we still have one at home. Mike says we’ll never get rid of them, but you know him. He’ll be devastated when they’re both out.”
Me, fake laughing: “Oh, that Mike. What a kidder!” Mike. Must be husband. One in college, one still at home. Think, Peg, think!
Her: “I’ll never forget that time in Peoria when the hotel management threatened to throw us all out.”
Me, genuinely: “That basketball tournament! I was mortified!” I know you – Cassie’s mom! Yes! Mike (husband) coached girls basketball in 6th grade. Whoo hoo! Now, what is your name? WHAT IS YOUR NAME???
Her: “Well, nice seeing you. Give my best to Bill.”
Me: “Right back at you. Great to see you, too!”
We go our separate ways. Ten yards down the hall I stop, pivot and point at her retreating back in one quick, fluid motion that would have done me proud at a Charlie’s Angels audition.
Me, loudly, triumphantly: “Sue!”
I am not stuck-up, nor am I deliberately rude. You are probably one of the most fascinating people it will ever be my good fortune to meet.
I’m 51. My eyesight isn’t what is once was, and my memory is shot.
If I don’t know who you are, believe me: it’s not you, it’s me.