Recommended wine for today’s entry: Toad Hollow chardonnay. According to the winery’s Web site, it is listed in the August 2009 Wine Enthusiast Buying Guide as a Best Buy with a 90 rating. “Toad Hollow 2007 Francine’s Selection Unoaked Chardonnay (Mendocino County);$13. A terrific Chardonnay. You won’t miss the oak at all. Offers a wealth of pineapple pie, Meyer lemon sorbet, green apple jam and vanilla flavors, brightened by clean, crisp coastal acidity.” And best of all, it’s a memorable name…
I HATE WHEN I FORGET SOMEONE’S NAME! Don’t you? Sometimes I don’t even remember where I met them. Or that I met them. Then it drives me crazy all day … sometimes for weeks.
I don’t know what Emily Post suggests, but the way I see it, when you have obviously forgotten someone’s name, you have three alternatives:
- Admit that you don’t remember their name and ask them;
- In a very generic way, babble about things that they very well might have said to you at one time or another, leaving them confused about these conversations that you remember and they don’t. You may have forgotten their name, but they think they forgot entire interactions. After awhile, you’ll confuse the crap out of them and they’ll leave of their own accord;
- The cut-and-run: Wait until they look away and run like the wind.
In my recent experience, I have to admit that I went with number 3. I do not necessarily recommend it, but it happened.
Standing at the grocery (I am not exaggerating when I say that I go there EVERY day), a nice woman taps me on the arm. Here’s how it went:
Nice lady: “Hey, I know you. Ashley, right?”
Me: (feel my already bulgy eyes doing a deer-in-the-headlights) “Uh, yeah, oh, hi!” (way too enthusiastically)
Nice lady: “How’ve you been?”
Me: “Uh, really good. Are you having a good summer? Is that your (and here I spazzed again, peering to see if child is a boy or a girl) … kid?”
Now nice lady leans over to say something to said child, and when she looks up, I’m gone. All the way over in the bakery department. I did leave my 19-year-old lagging behind, for which I took a tongue lashing later.
Obviously, Alternative 3 isn’t the best choice, and I’m positive it’s not endorsed by sales professionals everywhere.
I usually go with Alternative 2, and I’m actually pretty good at it. Two things to remember with this technique: Only offer uncontroversial happy talk – I mean, who doesn’tlike sunny days and puppies and hate traffic and sick kids? Also, be alert for clues. For example, at the grocery – see if they have beer or wine coolers. Clue: Partier. You’ll see.
Here’s how the grocery encounter would go with this technique:
Nice lady: “Hey, I know you. Ashley, right?”
Me: “Well, it sure is. How are you? I was just thinking about you the other day.”
Nice lady: “Really, why?”
Me: “Well, it was so nice out the other day and I remembered last time we talked you were saying how much you like nice summer days. Don’t you?”
Nice lady: “Y-e-a-h, I do. When did we talk about that?”
Me: “I don’t remember. Maybe it was at the party? That was a fun party, wasn’t it?”
Nice lady: “It was.” (Now the shoe is on the other foot, because she’s wracking her brain to remember talking to me at a party about nice summer days.)
Then they leave, feeling inadequate and baffled. And wonder if they were so drunk at a party that they forgot the conversation completely. N-i-c-e.
Alternative 1 (I am not sure why I did these in reverse order, I think it’s my stream-of-consciousness dyslexia issue)
I have been on the receiving end of this technique and it’s palatable once, but by the fifth time, it’s grounds for a good pummeling. There’s this guy (and I do know his name) whose daughter participated in gymnastics with one of my daughters. For four years. Practices five or six days a week, weekend travel for meets. We are talking a lot of contact.
From year two to year four, this gentleman had this greeting for me, my husband, or the two of us together:
“Hi! I forget your name.”
That was it. Verbatim. Every single time. And it wasn’t like he necessarily needed to speak to us; this was usually the extent of the conversation. No pretense of exchanging pleasantries. Just “I forget your name.”
I’d rather have someone pull the cut-and-run.
If any of you have a great technique for learning names, let me know.
I have tried the thing where I mutter their name over and over as I walk away from meeting someone and it doesn’t work for me. I found that I get awkward looks — like just saying “Mary, Mary, Mary” over and over under my breath indicates a major girl-crush or something.
Or after I meet a couple at a party, I chant “Gary, Eva, Gary, Eva, Gary Eva,” then I get to the bar and I pour a glass of Glen Ellen chardonnay and it immediately becomes, “Glen, Ellen, Glen, Ellen,” and I end up calling the couple Glen and Ellen for years to come.
Hint: Don’t serve me Toad Hollow at your next party unless you want to be addressed as Toad the rest of your life.