Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nice to Meet Who?

Hi. Nice to meet you, too. Except that we've met before. Remember?

They never do.

There's something about me. I have a special quality, a certain je ne sais quois, that makes people say je ne sais who the hell you are, even after having extended conversations with me. Today, two people from my D.C.-based employer visited our office for a meeting, and were introduced to me on their way in.

These two people politely shook my hand and said, "Nice to meet you." They smiled the fresh smiles of people who were encountering someone new. Except that I had met them. Not only had I met them, I had been with them in meetings, several times a week, for several months. I had even spoken at these meetings, in front of them, and spoken with each person directly, once or twice.

I long ago figured out that the sight of my face obviously triggers some sort of memory-erase in people I meet once or twice. It's sort of like living in a version of the movie 50 First Dates, where I am the Adam Sandler character and Drew Barrymore's character is played by almost everyone else. Maybe that's why I get so excited when I can finally get acknowledgment from any business where I am a regular patron.

This severe instance of recognition failure was a new demonstration of my powers. "Nice to see you," I said. "We've been in meetings together. I used to work in D.C." I waited for some sign of recognition, but none materialized. "Oh!" they nodded vacantly, still clearly not having any idea that they had laid eyes on me before.

The group began to pull chairs around a central table. Making the moment perfect, another coworker, someone I see every day, said, "Christine, do you mind if we use this chair?"

Looking at the upside of my invisibility, it represents a chance to reinvent myself on a regular basis. Next time I walk into work, or another situation involving familiar faces, I could just pretend to be someone else. As long as I remain my impression-free self at the core, the possibilities are endless.

Hello, my name is Cornelia, and I work in fashion. I'm Melissa, and I work at San Francisco's Circus Center. Hi, it's Sharon, I'm a Cylon -- or Shira will work, just signal in my direction. Hope to see you again soon.


  1. Anonymous10:08 AM

    great blog! can't believe i didn't find this earlier!

  2. Anonymous8:25 PM

    I always assume people will have forgotten me, so I'm constantly re-introducing myself to a chourus of, "Dude -- we know who you are..."

  3. Anonymous9:54 PM

    I envy you. I have the opposite problem. People I met 15 years ago still remember me, whether I'd like them to or not.

  4. Anonymous6:27 PM

    OHHH, this one made me so uncomforable I couldn't respond till what 2 weeks later!!!
    I am the worst...my husband and I served diplomatically in Vienna, we had to stand in receiving lines, sometimes many nights in a row.....one night I said "so nice to meet you" (a dumb bunny thing to say~as it's always "oh good to be here with you" or " so good to see you here" "Hope you enjoy the evening"..or lunch or toilet paper, whatever.) Well this pissed off person looked me in the eye and said:
    "When do you think you will remember you met me many times before"
    I died of embarrassment, apologized profusely and never forgot that face again!! But I am still suffering.
    Even though Sponsort said the "guy's a total prick"....to this day I suffer over my faux-pas.

  5. It's OK, Sponsor. I'm sure that guy was a total prick. He was probably pissed because he is a memory-eraser like me, and never learned to get a sense of humor about it.


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