Earlier this morning, I was coming out of the hospital and wandering across the parking lot after my twice-weekly blast of ultra-violet B radiation, when a man coming toward me said "Hi Dan."
Now, since I had no idea who this person was, I responded with a surprised yet friendly "hey!" But, neither of us slowed down, and I was left to puzzle over who this strange person actually could have been as we went our separate ways. Eventually, as is always the case, I found myself growing more and more frustrated by my pathetic memory. And, by the time I reached my car and fumbled with my keys, I was ready to dash back into the hospital, track this person down, grab him by the lapels and demand he tell me who he is and how the hell he knows me.
Unfortunately, I am absolutely dreadful with names. It's got to be some sort of record with how quickly I continually forget them. Case in point: It took me almost two years to be able to remember my friend José's wife's name. It was absolutely embarrassing. I'd see her, she'd say, "Hi, Dan," and I'd feebly return the greeting with, "Hi, murblewurbleink." Or, when that became old and transparent, I'd simply respond with, "Hey! *cough-cough-hack-wheeze* Sorry, it's tuberculosis. Nice to see you. How's things?" However, the latter approach lead to way more Get-Well cards than I really felt comfortable receiving. Eventually, she and I came to an understanding. We would say hello to one another, and she wouldn't laugh at me for being stupid.
Anyway, this mysterious person in the parking lot baffled me. Not only did I not remember his name, but his face was wholly unremarkable. He could have been one of my former doctors, but I think I might have remembered that. He didn't rattle when he walked, so it was unlikely that he belonged to the army of perky, bouncing pharmaceutical salespeople over whom patients and doctors are always tripping. He didn't stab me, or pull out a gun and cut me down in a spray of lead justice, so there's a pretty good chance I didn't date his sister. In other words, I had no flippin' clue who this man was and how he knew me. And, had he not been such a rude bastard, he would have stopped to tell me his name.
Then again, for all I know, he's probably told me his name a dozen times already, and I suppose I really can't blame him for just running off the way he did.