I have come to hate weddings, funerals and all family gatherings really. I have also come into the habit of dodging familiar faces in the crowd as long as I haven’t been spotted yet. It’s not that I hate people or socializing at all. Neither am I embarrassed of the way I have turned out. I’ve just come to the realization that I am just really, really bad with names.
I would like to believe that my brain has evolved to such a stage where it can tell who needs to be remembered and who doesn’t because let’s face it, a lot of the people you meet in your day-to-day interactions won’t stick around long enough to be of any value.
I think the worst case of forgetfulness happened last month in the ladies toilets at work (as if this wasn’t going to be awkward enough). A girl walks into the toilet while I’m dutifully washing my hands. I smile and say hi because I’m in a jovial mood that day. She then looks at me and half-asks “Kuda??”(For those who don’t know, Kuda is actually my third name. My mother named me Gwendolene, Tendai, Kudakwashe Mugodi. I personally blame her for my multiple personalities. Gwen is definitely the vivacious and coquettish one, Tendai the more reserved but definitely mean one and Kuda the sweet but more reflective one who always wants to find out life’s greatest mysteries. I pick which one to use depending on my mood that day but sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll meet all three in one go:) )
Anyway, back in the ladies room, I quickly rack my brain for a name that goes with the face that is starting to look a little bit familiar. “Yes…” I hesitantly answer to her question.
“You used to live in Mt Pleasant right? In Saltburn Close?” She’s right again and now I am starting to get just a tad bit uncomfortable because this is where you are supposed to say the other person’s name, excitedly hug them pretend to be so happy to have bumped into each other after “such a long time.” But I got nothing. And her asking “How is Madeline?” in reference to my older sister, does not make me feel any better a person.
At that point I realize my brain is not going to cooperate this time around and so I do my famous old speech; “I am so sorry, I remember your face but right now, I just can’t remember your name,” done with my sweetest and most sincere-looking smile. This hasn’t failed me yet. And it worked on Mellissa too, or at least that’s what I think her name is. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to ask her if we ever have another run-in.