Living in an apartment complex that has as many units as we have in mine, I strive to be the best and friendliest neighbor in the place, wanting to call everyone that lives here my friend. I always say hi to everyone, even the people that walk past me with their head down that clearly don’t want to talk to anyone, hoping to strike up some conversation. I just want to be able to call all of them my friends. I mean we’re all around the same age anyway.
There’s just one flaw in my whole plan, I’m terrible at remembering people’s names. As you know I’m terrible with names. There’s no way I can remember anyone’s name after meeting them once. The only way I’ll ever remember someone’s name is if I ask them three or four times until I drill it into my brain. I wish I was better at remembering people’s names, more specifically my neighbors.
Especially because I find myself remembering all of their dogs’ names and never theirs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been overly excited to say hi to someone’s dog as I pass them in the halls and can never find the names in my brain of the person walking this dog who I’ve met a few dozen times by now. I always feel so shitty when I can’t remember someone’s name.
It has got to the point now where I don’t even call dogs by their name anymore. Every dog I see, boy or girl, regardless of how old I know it is or how old it looks, I say, “What’s up puppy.” as I get down on my knees to pet it. Just as I refrain from saying anyone’s name when I see them like, “What’s up man?” I now do the same thing with dogs. I like to think that I have enough decency where if I can’t remember the name of the person walking the dog, then I have no right to be calling the dog by its name.
If I could be good at anything with my life; it would be the ability to remember everyone’s name. I always used to say if I could have any super power it’d be flying or teleportation so I wouldn’t have to spend so much time on planes. Now, twenty five years into life, the only superpower I want is to be able to retain peoples names after meeting them one time. Yeah I’m that bad with names and I had no idea until I started recognizing my neighbors based on their dogs and not the person I spend twenty minutes talking to as I pet their dog. I know I listen, I hear their names when they tell me, but for some wicked irritating reason, their names always slip my mind. They go in one ear and right out the other, unless they walk on four legs and love me unconditionally. In that case I will always remember your name.
I guess that’s the same reason as to why I can remember everyone that’s let me share a bed with them. All it takes is for someone to return all the affection I want to give. Those are the names I remember.