My memory has ways of pulling tricks on me in ways that are most embarrassing at completely inappropriate times. I was out at the shops last weekend with my wife and kids. We’re in the car park finding our car to load our loot and go home, when I hear a voice yelling out my name. I knew instantly who the voice belonged to. We’ll refer to her as “Alice”. Not because I forgot her name, mind you, but more to protect the innocent.
So I hear a voice calling out “Oi, Hoover!” from across the car park. My mind lights up bringing the name “Alice” to the front of my brain. As I’m turning around I mouth the words “Oh, that’s Alice“. Only Alice would yell out my name like that in a public place.
We come closer together, give each other a bit of a hug and start with the general chit chat about what we’re currently doing, where we are currently living, what our jobs are like etc etc. Now, it has been a while since I saw Alice and I’m not sure if she has met my kids, so I introduce them telling Alice their names and their ages.
Next comes the tricky part, and the point of this post. As I’m about to introduce Alice to the kids, my mind starts to freeze. I have the words centered at the front of my mind, written in nice big friendly letters.
I open my mouth to say “And kids, this is….” But the name has disappeared. Where did it go? Inside a quarter of a second I’ve gone from being able to confidently introduce my kids to an old friend to panicking about looking like a douche because I forgot her name. I just had it a few seconds ago! The word will still be there if I close my eyes and look really hard. Oh no, I’m taking too long. Better cover up and buy myself more time by continuing “… an old friend…” But her name doesn’t reappear. What am I going to do? I can’t very well ask her to introduce herself. I just posted something on her Facebook wall the other week. Perhaps if I try to visualise that post I’ll get it. Not coming, need to buy more time. “… and her name is…”
By this time the jig is up. My kids are looking at me expectantly, my wife is giving me “that” look and Alice, bless her, isn’t making eye contact with me at all. “I’m Alice” she says directly to the kids. I slap my forehead and swear under my breath. “I didn’t really forget your name”, I say. “I just had momentary lapse of memory! I know who you are! I talk to you on Facebook all the time! You were at our wedding!”
This happens more than I care to admit. I have this weird mental block when it comes to introducing people I know to others.
Yet for some reason I can remember my Tax File Number (who the hell knows that off by heart?), my Curtin Univeristy student number from 1988, what historical figures each King playing card is named after and other obscure numbers and facts.
And it’s not like I forgot her name, anyway. I even said it out loud as I heard her voice. But somehow there’s a mental block designed to maximise my appearance of being a douche when I mostly need to appear cool. Anyone else experience this? Does it have a name?