oh, we've met

It must have happened to me a dozen times last night. I'd come up to someone I recognized and they'd see me and smile and extend their hand and introduce themselves and I'd just smile and shake their hand and say "Oh, we've met." I explain it, briefly, and there's that moment where they try to place it, clearly don't, and say, "Oh, right!"

I worry, though. It has to be normal. I'm not memorable or anything. But maybe it's weird or creepy that I remember people, where we met--am I making meeting people mean too much? Am I being creepy? Exactly how awkward is it? Am I crazy for just wondering? And then sometimes there's the times when we both know we've met but can't remember where, and it's all squinting and sidelong glances and "Hey, do I know you?" and then you puzzle it out, one step at a time, and then once you've figured it out there's that pause and it's like "Okay, now what?"

After probably the tenth person who I knew but didn't know me I decided to make a game of it. I introduced myself, smiled, engaged her in conversation. We'd met one crazy night at an ice cream parlor--settling down after the party, we actually had a fairly long talk. I made subtle references to the place and the event, like it was an accident. By the end of the evening she was talking about the crazy coincidence, how it was like I was reading her mind, and she almost felt like she already knew me, despite having (she thought) just met me.

She had to flee to catch the train but she would definitely remember me this time.


Anonymous said...

When I was at college, a bunch of us went to a local camp for a weekend to help out with a program. I met a girl there who was cool and funny and we hung out. The next year I was visiting the college and this random girl came up to me and was chatting with me and I knew I knew her from somewhere but couldn't place it. So I admitted my ignorance and asked who she was and then she told me and became very sad that I'd forgotten who she was. It was very awkward.

Christin said...

The worst way I've ever, ever greeted somebody was once when a person on Twitter invited themselves along to an event I was hosting. They insisted that we'd met at a previous party; I played along. I didn't remember them at all, but in trying to remember the party and the people I'd met that night, I had a narrowed-down number of possible candidates for who might be showing up to my event.

Well, they startled me when they showed up, and in my surprise, the exchange went like this:
"Hi, Christin."
"Oh, THAT'S who you are!"

(And then I spent the night apologizing, which made it worse, of course.)