For some reason, people always forget me.
I’m not saying that in a whiny, pitiful way, it’s just a fact that I can even prove with empirical data.
For example, I’ve asked a waiter for a side of ranch dressing, waited more than a generous amount of time before asking again, only to hear the words “oh, I’m sorry I totally forgot”.
It’s not new. I went back to my high school a couple of years after graduation. My friends all boasted about reconnecting with favorite teachers or administrators and reminiscing about the antics of their school days. In my case, one teacher vaguely remembered me when I finally mentioned, “I sat next to Sally Winters, in your third period AP English class”.
Once at a restaurant, a friend ordered a Stella Artois beer, while I asked for a minute to make my beverage decision. A few minutes later, I ordered a Stella at the same time that my sister ordered a different beer. Hers arrived shortly after. Mine just didn’t come. My friend came to my rescue and mentioned it to the server, and guess what? She had forgotten.
Recently, during a business meeting, I was introduced to several new people. When we met subsequently, only a few weeks later, I told them all it was nice to see them again. Once of them said “Nice to meet you”, as he shook my hand. Umm, you met me two weeks ago.
It’s always the same. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, I don’t know what, though. But after it happened enough times, I actually started to recognize and expect it.
Like today at Starbucks. I stood there right in front of the cashier and ordered a coffee and a pastry. He asked my name, wrote it on the cup, and then even asked me if I wanted my cake heated. Of course I said yes. Then I walked over to the delivery counter to wait for my order. Within minutes, my coffee arrived.
Then it was the moment of truth. You’d think it would take no more than thirty seconds to heat up a piece of coffee cake, which is, by the way, shorter than the amount of time it takes to prepare a tall caramel macchiato. So after a couple of minutes, when two other people had been handed their pastries, I started to get that familiar old feeling: “He forgot about me”.
It wasn’t even a question. I knew it, but still I waited just a little while longer, maybe as if hoping I was wrong.
And worse than that, he didn’t even apologize, which I translated to “Oh, yeah, you, I forgot, but it’s your fault because you’re so forgettable”.
Am I though? It is so easy to fall into the trap set by low self-esteem, but I can’t help but recall evidence to the contrary. After all, I have many good friends, and tons of cordial acquaintances. And there have been times when I myself have been face to face with someone telling me we met previously, while I have no recollection.
In general, it’s not something which strongly affects my mood or outlook, but there are times when I am in the midst of true anguish or despair, that I draw upon these moments of forgettable-ness. I use them as kindle to keep the fires of my sadness burning. It turns into a melee of “I’m unlovable”, “I’m irrelevant”, “Nobody will ever want me”, and my favorite, “My life is meaningless”. All built on the foundation of absent-minded food servers, and oblivious colleagues.
It’s kind of a stretch, don’t you think?
But why am I asking you?
Ten minutes after reading this, you’ll probably forget all about it.
Or maybe that’s just my krazy, overactive imagination getting the best of me.