Who Are You?

Silhouette courtesy of whats-their-names.

An all too familiar scene:

“Hey, Peg!”

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.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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25 Responses to Who Are You?

  1. Jackie says:

    That’s the worst, isn’t it? I have an equally hard time when someone I recognize approaches me and talks as if we’re closer than we really are. I had an experience this past weekend with the mother of a friend I haven’t spoken to or seen since 6th grade. It’s about 15 years later and I was lucky enough to place the face – but when she spoke to me as if a dear, close friend, I started to seriously doubt my memory. Had I had frequent slumber parties with this woman? Tea? Evenings out?

    It was a very taxing 5 minutes.


  2. I am great with faces, not so great with names. Therefore, I am the Grand Mistress of faking personal conversations with people whose names elude me. I believe this stems from my days in High School when I would wander the halls without a pass secure in the knowledge that if I simply looked like I possessed suitable permission and I was doing something important, no one would think to question me. That, and I always asked how the hall monitor’s (now, what was his name again?) favorite basketball team, the Lakers, was doing.


  3. I always say to my wife: at a party/do/or anytime, in fact, if I don’t introduce someone to her, it’s because I haven’t the faintest idea who they are. BUT remember we’re not alone. This is a classic example from a different era . . .

    The day after a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham was in Harrods when a lady approached him and complimented him on the previous evening’s performance. He thanked her, and enquired about her health not knowing who on earth she was. Inspiration struck and he thought he might get some insight as to her identity by asking about her husband.
    Bravely he began; “And, Madam, how is your dear husband? What is he doing these days?”
    The lady replied: “He’s fine, and he’s still King.”
    Now THAT’s forgetful . . . . .


    • pegoleg says:

      Now I don’t feel so bad. My go-to excuse if someone asks to be introduced and I can’t recall the person’s name is a laughing “Oh, you don’t want to know HIM!”


  4. bigsheepcommunications says:

    You’re too hard on yourself — if you get up in the morning and still remember your own name, you’re doing okay.


  5. John Hunsinger says:

    That happens to me all the time. More now that I am older, I’m sure thats because I know more people. Just go with me on this.


  6. Ted says:

    Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don’t have film.


  7. The "rooster" says:

    I am a fanatic about peoples’ names, their wives’ names, their childrens’ names, their parents’ names, their hobbies, their vacation plans, their favorite restaurants and their politics. For Dale Carnegie said it best, “If see Jim Jones through Jim Jones’ eyes, you can sell Jim Jones what Jim Jones buys.” One needs to take peoples’ names very seriously…


  8. Divya says:

    Oh my god, this is me! I just love the way you’ve described the sequence of thoughts racing through your head, because that’s exactly what’s usually going through mine when I meet someone. I have an absolutely horrible memory for faces, and I can’t even blame age (yet hehe). And I’m constantly telling people the same thing — it’s not you, it’s me. I’m terribly vague. I swear I didn’t look through you on purpose! Really nice piece 🙂


  9. compleximplicity says:

    Haha, this is truly funny and has tickled me especially the self talking to self and unanswerable questions until finally, the penny drops! This happens to me all the time – I never forget a face but their personal life information: mind zombies out!


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