Do I know you?

She greeted me so exuberantly that I answered in kind, like we were friends meeting on the street though I didn’t know her name.

“Oh hi!” she said, peddling away on her stationary bike as I punched numbers into the elliptical. Then, “Don’t I know you? Did you graduate from Marion Center?”

Ah. Mistaken identity. I stopped desperately trying to place her.

It’s a problem I have a lot, working as a reporter. I meet a lot of different people at a lot of different places, write their stories or quote their comments at meetings, and when I see them again at the grocery story or the county fair or the gym, I recognize them.

But I can’t place who they are or where I know them from. Out of context, they’re familiar strangers, and it’s unsettling.

I’m relieved that she doesn’t actually know me.

She goes to the gym at the same time I do. At least, those times I make it out over lunch, she’s always there, chatting with gym employees and greeting the older man who always uses the step machine or reading a book on the bike, the treadmill.

The day she thought I was a former Marion Center student of hers, we exchanged names, and she called over another person to agree that yes, I do look like what’s-her-name, you know who I’m thinking of? Neither can remember her name, both agree that I look like her.

She went back to her book; I asked for the channel to be changed to news. The sports shows that usually play on the flat-screen above the weight machines are fine but I don’t like talk shows of any variety; news at least changes every minute or so, and I can guess most of what I can’t quite hear.

That was about a week ago and she greets me now, those days that I make it in over my lunch hour. I wonder if she’s remembered the name of the girl she thought I was?


1 Comment

Filed under Notebook sketches, People

One response to “Do I know you?

  1. LaVell Welborn

    I certainly can identify with your delimma. It happens all the time with me, since I sold real estate for so many years. So, I just go along with the situation, glad to see an “old friend” and enjoy the moment. Beats admitting you don’t have a clue who you’re talking to!

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