Today a woman called out my name and said, "Hello" to me at the grocery store. She asked how my Mom was doing after her surgery. Clearly, she knew me. Clearly I had contact with her in December because she knew about the surgery. It took me the entire conversation, a "See you Tuesday" from her and the frigid walk to my car (hello -2 windchill) before I realized she is the Mom of one of my students.
Once warmed up in the car I realized this is a fairly common event in my life. Another parent talked to me when I stopped in a clothing store where she worked. It took her telling me her first name for my brain to click. Over the last few years I have had multiple conversations with people and while on the outside I am chatty and seemingly on top of thing-inside I am going all "Who the Hell are you?" Don't get me wrong-I love to see people I know outside the day-to-day context I usually see them in. I am friendly and outgoing so talking to a complete-at-the-time stranger is no problem for me.
Now, one must realize I attended 5 (?) Elementary, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools (no, not an Army brat-just restless "movin' on up parents). I have worked in 3 states during my professional career. And while I don't run into people from Elementary or Middle School-I have run into high school, college and old work colleagues. Most notably when I interviewed for a job in Florida and halfway through the interview I stopped and started asking one of the people present where she went to school, where she lived, etc. until I finally figured out we went to (undergrad) college together. Needless to say- was hired. Or what about the Steelers fan who talked to us when we were at a local bar in FL watching the Steelers playoff game as if we had known each other for years. It wasn't until a few days later when he waved to us from his mail truck that we realized he was our mailman (and had been for years) (and for the record it was my hubby who figured it out-not me.)
I have, in Florida and here in PA, lived in one county and worked in others (or lived in one part of a county and worked on the other end of it) so running into people I know has always been somewhat limited. So when I do see someone I know (or who knows me) I am mentally running down a list to see if any of these categories fit the person:
WTH??? If you are part of this category you probably need to wear a sign with your name in lights.
So now, when you see me and say, "hi" look for the semi-glazed look behind my cheery smile--I probably have no idea who you are-but that's OK I'm used to it-and if it makes you feel any better I will obsess on who you are-up all night if needed until I figure out who you are.