I am not sure why our brain remembers the most embarrassing moments so well, whenever someone asks me of mine, this particular one I am going to write about stands out.
One day after office, I had been for grocery shopping. Yeah, one of those days when I get to return back from office while the sun is still out there, it’s a rarity. Walking towards the breakfast cereal section, my eyes were rolling over tier after tier of various varieties of stacked up cereal, for my favourite Apple honey almond muesli. I think they were out of stock, so I picked up some other flavour. I was engrossed in reading the ingredients of the pack, when a hand landed on my shoulder accompanied by a greet, “Hey Aastha, long time, how have you been ?”. Overlooking my shoulder, I turned around, before I could respond, she said, ” You haven’t changed a bit …”
In response I greeted her back, with out taking her name. Hell, my brain was very busy trying to connect the information stored in neurons, failing to reconstruct the memory of her, coming up with several other questions in the advent of her identity.
My inner voice chipped in, “Aastha, you know her quite well. Please, please, please try.. I am sure you would recollect. Is she from school ?”
Me: “I don’t think so. I remember her with the exact same face I am seeing her now, which means I have met her most probably after my late teens ?”
Inner voice: “Sure, sounds very true. Some coaching centre ?”
Me: ” I don’t remember, but that sounds untrue”
Inner voice: Job interviews ?”
Me: “No way, I have attended only two interviews till now, one when I was in college, I haven’t made any new friends during the interview process. Second one, I went alone, met no one and all the interviewers were men”
My brain was confused between me and my inner voice. Meanwhile the girl was also talking. I was secretly wishing that she mentions some one or some experience so that my brain can create the pattern and connect the dots. I was smiling (such a fake smile which I am totally not used to), I was feeling quite uncomfortable to have not remembered her. She was taking my name again and again making me feel really bad.
Inner voice: “Is she from your current work place ?”
Me: “No, that can’t be”
Inner voice: “Now, please you have almost ruled out all the possibilities, she remembers you and you don’t.. “
Me: “Really, is that it ? I have known her for a long time, it is definitely not that I met her once or twice”
She was wearing her ID card ( she must be returning from work too ), damn it, it’s flipped on the wrong side, I was praying while we were walking around that her ID card flips so that I can read her name. My stupid thoughts are making me all the more ashamed. First of all, I do not remember her name, then I want something to remind me of her ??? This continued for around 10 minutes. By this time, my guilt took over me, I didn’t want to waste any more time, but ask her.
I started with an apology,”I am really very sorry. I know we have met several times, I know you well too, but I am not able to recollect your name. Kindly can you please remind me ?” She smiled, then she started laughing. May be it was my facial expression. ” Hmmm… We started our career together and worked for the same company, we stayed at the same place too”. All the memories came back to me in no time. We talked for some more time, I apologised again before we departed. How didn’t I notice the company name written on her ID Card tag, that should have reminded me. I have not just forgotten her name, but how we were connected too.
It was the most embarrassing moment, I can never forget it as well, including the color of the dress she wore 😀
Once I realised that I am very bad with names and how embarrassing it can be, I have made some modifications.
- I sincerely tell them before hand if I cannot recollect who they are.
- I pay attention to the conversation, when someone is being introduced.
- I started storing contacts in my phone along with the relationship.
Forgetting names is not a serious illness or anything. Our brain has got better ways to store faces than names. Facial recognition is what many species including humans use to identify similar species as well as things. If someone says they have a pen, we can visualise it, but if they say it’s a Parker pen, our brain runs us through the different models Parker has in market. We are naturally not wired to remember names very well. Having said that, there are two types of people, who can remember names well and others who don’t. Undoubtedly, I belong to the second type. Some have a flashy memory, they never forget the name of the person they met even if that is only once. I wish I had one too !!!!
The ‘oops’ moments are very funny, yet they make us aware of something we haven’t known. What’s your oops moment ?