Posted in Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

Saturday Night Frolics With A Ficus

pegficusIt’s Saturday night and I’m ready to rock! Chances are good I’ll wind up spending the evening behind a potted ficus instead.

I can’t say I ever had a mind like a steel trap. Even “back in the day” it was more like those plastic live-catch traps where the mouse grabs the bait and skedaddles.   But my mind definitely used to be more trap-like than it is now. My modern day brain, specifically my memory, is more like a cheese board where the only selection is Swiss.

The Crappy Aging Memory Phenomenon (CAMP for short) has hit me especially hard when it comes to remembering names. It’s not that I don’t try. When I’m introduced to someone I repeat their name several times, and then try to create some sort of mnemonic device to get it to stick. The info is gone the moment I turn away.

I’m supposed to go to a fund-raiser for a worthy cause tonight. Normally I’d be looking forward to a night on the town, but I’m dreading this because I’m afraid I’ll run into The Mystery Woman. She’s a casual acquaintance of mine who we’ll call Bertha. We’ll call her that because I can’t remember her name.

Something about this woman triggers my CAMP symptoms like nobody else.

We go out to eat with a group of friends every Friday night, to a revolving roster of restaurants.  Each time we go to Vinnie’s Cafe, Bertha The Mystery Woman is there.  She’s fine to talk to; we chat about our kids and life in general and she always compliments me on the column I write for the local paper, so I know she has excellent taste. She introduced me to her husband the first time I saw her at that restaurant, but I was so busy trying to remember her name that I failed to register his.  Nobody else in our group knows them, which adds to the stress.   I’m afraid one of my friends will wander over and I’ll have to offer an introduction or look like a total social doofus.

All the time we’re talking I’m wracking my brain for some clue as to her identity, and asking myself:

  • Where did we meet?
  • What do we have in common?
  • Why aren’t people forced to wear name tags when out in public?

The first time I bumped into her I should have admitted I couldn’t remember her name and asked what it was. Now this charade has gone on so long that I can’t possibly ask.

I saw Bertha at this same fundraiser last year, and the stress of discovery ruined the evening. I figure chances are good she’ll be there again tonight, and I plan to duck behind a potted plant as soon as I spot her.  That way I can avoid the whole issue.

I only hope the waiter will find me behind my ficus. I have a feeling I’m going to need a drink.



R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!

36 thoughts on “Saturday Night Frolics With A Ficus

  1. I recommend a mnemonic device called Facebook. It a time waste, true, but at least it helps to see names together with profile pictures. So get Facebook, and whenever you see Bertha, ask her to find you on Facebook.
    If she doesn’t have Facebook, you can ask what she does for a living, and if possible, ask for a business card for a friend of yours who just happens to be looking for someone in that very profession.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. They say you have a finite number of things you can remember and when you add another memory, well, you just have to give up an older one up. You might just want to tell her that you’d love to remember their names, but it would mean not remembering your kids’ names anymore. She’ll understand.

    Anyway, whozit, good post.

    Your pal, whatshisname.


  3. You could always always throw a fellow dinner companion under the bus and say to Bertha…”Penelope here, (nudge Penelope to direct all eyes to her,) doesn’t remember your name or your husbands…isn’t that hilarious??”
    Penelope will get all insulted and say, “Of course I know their names, it’s…(fill in the blank) and (insert name of hubby here.)”
    Ta-DA! You will finally know their names. You can forget Penelope’s if you want, because she’s never going to speak to you again.


  4. Peg, it must be the Irish in us because I have the exact same problem. I usually get away with this scenario, though:

    I explain the situation to someone else in the group, say Jane, who doesn’t know “Bertha.” I stand and have a conversation with Bertha and have Jane come up and join in. Act as if you know that they know each other. One will introduce themselves, and the other will follow suit. Then you can say, “Oh my, I would have introduced you but I could swear you knew each other already!”

    My office is filled with people from around the world, with names that are difficult to spell and pronounce but impossible to remember. And then there is the one immigrant with an easy name — Aimee. But she’s from an African country that begins with “N” and she’s told me twice and mentioned it to others in front of me several times as well. I’m hopeless…


  5. I have the opposite problem. I can remember the names of everyone I’ve ever met. I just don’t remember which faces those names go with. Is there a name for that? If there is, can you put it in the form of a Flash Card. One that I can carry in my pocket. One I can look at when sitting on the floor next to you behind the ficus plant.

    I like my vodka neat. Could you tell the waiter? *grin*


  6. I solved that problem by refusing to go to parties and putting NO TRESPASSING signs on my fence. The older we get, the more likely we are not to want to put up with C#@p like remembering people’s names and social etiquette.

    I’m at the age where my answer comments like, “Why are you wearing clothes that younger women wear?” or “You don’t remember my name?” is, “You didn’t ask me the right question.” When the self-righteous bast-itch asks, “What is the right question?” my answer is going to be, “Do I care? And, in case you’re interested, the answer is no.”


    1. Seriously? How great! You can do whatever wild, crazy, illegal thing you want, and blame it all on the double.

      Although that can back fire. I had a friend, Amy Smith, and there’s another person in town with the exact same name, but who is no relation. The other woman kept showing up on in the paper for drunk driving, etc. Not good.


  7. I have a terrible time remembering people’s names. I can forget it less than 30 seconds after being introduced. I could never be a real estate agent, I’d starve!
    I hope there is a cure for CAMP!


  8. Oh, there’s nothing worse! You get to a point where there is NO way you can ask the person their name, ugh! There’s a bartender at our favorite Mexican joint that is the sweetest thing. She knows everything about us and gets our drinks ready the minute we walk in and tells everyone how we are her favorite customers but neither Mr. Brick house nor I remember her name!!! We fake it and smile but are dying inside because she would be so offended! I figure I may have to start calling her, Sangria and that way she’ll just think I need another drink! I hope you survived! 🙂


  9. I love the idea of name tags! Brilliant. That would solve for so much self-induced trauma about aging. As a former barista, I can run into someone and say in my head, grande no foam non fat latte, but cant find the name in the brain for the life of me…CAMP used to be a fun place to go. No it just shows up. Oy vey. Great post.


    1. I think you travel in more executive circles than I do, Val. I can’t remember her name, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a job where she’d have business cards.


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