When I was in high school, I was a mentor at church for youths who were going through the confirmation process, to sort of spiritually guide them, as it were. I think maybe someone should have been guiding me because I’m not exactly Yoda when it comes to spiritual advice. But I had a group of middle schoolers, and in my mind, they were my little troop of Christians, and they would always remember me as being instrumental in their journey to getting that necklace that looked like a waffle at church on that Sunday. If you’re Methodist, then you’d recognize it:
Just kidding, it’s this one:
So when I was a senior in high school, the kids from my confirmation group had finally started their freshman year. I saw one of them approaching in the hallway, and being the nice, nurturing spiritual guide that I was, I made sure he knew I was there if he needed anything. The conversation went like this:
Me: “Hey, Joe! How’s it going?”
Me: “How’s your school year so far?”
Me: “That’s good!”
Kid: “I’m sorry…do I know you?”
There is no graceful way to recover from someone actually mentioning to you that they DO NOT KNOW WHO YOU ARE. So I reminded him, we exchanged a couple of other mumbly pleasantries, and then I pretty much ran away from him. To this day I am terrified of this kind of thing happening to me again. The fact is, I remember pretty much everyone who crosses my path. It’s a character trait of people with my Meyers-Briggs profile, but I have to remind myself that other people aren’t as creepy-recollective as I am. So I play dumb, a lot, so as to preserve my dignity. I just try really hard not to make eye contact in public places, in case I see someone I know that I’m not sure will remember me.
Wanna know the kicker? A couple of years later, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Tulane closed and many of their Atlanta-area students transferred to Georgia schools for the year. Can you guess who ended up in my History of Architecture small group breakout of 10 students?
Needless to say, I did not say hi to him again. If it had been a repeat of the time in high school, I probably would’ve spontaneously combusted or melted through the floor, Alex Mack style.
All that to say, this new song from Garfunkel & Oates, titled “I Don’t Know Who You Are”, embodies my worst fear. Except they play the jerk who doesn’t remember the person in front of them. Basically, they’re talking to me circa 2001. It sort of makes me nauseous. But it’s also hilarious, so give it a listen, but maybe not at work without headphones on.