My family suffers from an affliction my mother calls “CRS.” I think it took about 50 mentions of the malady before I finally remembered what those three little letters stood for, because every time my mother said, “You have CRS,” I would say, “You know, I can never remember what those stupid letters stand for.”
Mom would laugh and say, “Can’t remember this (I jumbled the letters for the word that starts with an “s” and end with a “t”).”
Included in my list of things I don’t remember are names. Sadly, though I hate to admit it, I even took a course to help me, but I thought the game involved in remembering names was even more confusing than just remembering the names outright – Stan rhymes with man and man is a male, so just remember that Stan is the name of your mail (or male) man. What?????
Though I can’t remember names, I generally remember faces, but that didn’t help me on one grocery store trip. I walked down an aisle and saw a woman I had seen dozens of times before. Naturally, I didn’t remember her name, but I had seen her enough to say hi.
Down the next aisle I saw her again and it was beginning to bother me that I couldn’t remember how I knew her.
Again and again, aisle after aisle, I saw her. Had I worked with her at a previous job? Had she taken a class of mine? Had I taken a class of hers? Was she the mother of one of my kids’ friends?
OK, I had had enough – I was on a mission now. I HAD to know HOW I knew her. So I walked up to her and said, “I’m sorry. I know I know you from somewhere and I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out where I’ve seen you before, but I can’t for the life of me remember.”
“You’re used to seeing me behind the registers,” she said. “I work here.”
If I had had a tail, it would have been between my legs.
Remembering people is obviously not one of my finer traits, and while I say that I remember faces, I have to admit that sometimes people look familiar or similar to other people I’ve known.
Once in a while I’ll wave to somebody to get her or his attention, but when I get closer, I find that the person I thought was an acquaintance was actually somebody I’d never met.
Because I frequently encounter this problem, I’ve learned how to cover my mistake by waving wildly at somebody behind the person, and when the person I thought I knew turns around, I pretend I’m heading in the direction of the person behind him or her.
You can see that I have perfected my ruse, though I have found over the years – sometimes it’s just better to keep to myself.
Except for the grocery store, I usually shop online, because, truth be known, I hate shopping. Sometimes though, I have to go to the mall where I get too easily distracted. My concentration becomes compromised by all the noise and people around me. In order to survive the experience, I filter out everything.
At no other time was that more apparent to me than the time I was walking from one end of the mall to another when, out of the corner of my eyes, I thought I saw manic waving in the distance. Giving it no thought (because, as you can tell from the previous paragraphs, I do it all the time), I continued to focus on my thoughts and plans.
Noise in the background, too, became a blur until the wild manic waves and shouts came closer and closer to me and snapped me out of my diligent focus on matters at hand (or in head).
“GRANDMA!” my grandchildren shouted at me. “We’ve been calling you and calling you! Didn’t you see us or hear us?”
Maybe worse than those experiences is what happened to my sister in her own personal case of mistaken identity.
Maybe alcohol and dark places change the way a person looks, but my sister, across a crowded room, saw a guy she was excited to see, so she leaped across the bar and jumped into his lap.
The stranger was quite happy about the encounter. My sister was mortified.
As I said, it runs in the family.