Once, when I was home from college for the summer, a friend and I ran into someone from high school at an ice cream place. He said hi, knew exactly who we were, and chatted with us for a bit. But I had no idea what his name was.
If it sounds like I was just so popular in high school and knew so many people that it only makes sense they’d remember me but I wouldn’t remember them, I’m explaining it wrong. It’s just that I have a bad memory. I need to meet people at least 3 times before I remember them. I’ve gotten into the habit of preemptively introducing myself to anyone I think I may have met before with, “I’m sorry, we may have met before, but…” So if we went to high school together, unless you were my good friend (and I wasn’t popular, so it’s likely you weren’t), I’m not going to remember you.
But yesterday, when my mom and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some ice cream, I recognized the cashier. For a split second as she talked to the customer in front of us, I thought, Hey, she looks familiar. Then I glanced at her name tag and was rewarded with the first name of the girl I’d thought it was.
I didn’t say anything to her though. We weren’t really friends in school except for the one time I slept over her house in middle school, and I wasn’t sure if she would be embarrassed to be recognized as a grocery store cashier. Plus, I hate small talk.
Truthfully, though, I was mostly just afraid she wouldn’t recognize me.