We used to be a team, partners. I used to be able to count on Lauren to help me out. I could trust her, no matter what the circumstance, to cover for my weaknesses. If we were out, and met people that knew me, but I did not remember their names, she knew to introduce herself in an effort to help me get their name. All I had to do was give her a look and she knew. She knew to help me out.
However, recently our relationship has changed. I did not see it coming.
Sunday night Nikki, one of the moms in the neighborhood, called our house to see if we were bringing the kids to the parade of boats at the lake. The parade of boats is a tradition in our neighborhood where a bunch of boats are decorated with lights and what-have-you for Christmas. I told Nikki we would meet her, her husband, and her kids down at the lake. I do not know Nikki or her family all that well, I think they are good people and I enjoy their company the few times I have seen them at the playground. Lauren knows her and her family better than I do.
On our walk down to the lake, I asked Lauren what are Nikki’s kid’s names. Lauren laughed and said, “You can’t remember? I am going to make you figure it out.”
(I am the type of person who used to be good with names. I used to have my own nicknames for people that I could use association tricks to remember their names. The guy that worked for Philly Extract was Jake from Philly Extract. The guy that worked for the aquarium was the "Fish Guy". The woman that worked for Gelmarc was Gail from Gelmarc. I did not need to know their names, I would just call them by what they did or how I met them. Big Mike was big. His name may have not been Mike but that is what I called him. Bubblegum Bob always had bubblegum. Crazy Bill was, well crazy. You get the point. But when it comes to people's real names, I suck.
I don’t like the fact that names are difficult for me. And I don’t like to be embarrassed at the fact that I do not remember names. Especially children's names. I like when other people remember my kid's names only after meeting them once or twice. It makes me feel good. Like they left an impression. So when I see other kids, I like to return the favor so to speak.)
“Just tell me. It would easier that way.” I asked.
“No. Figure it out.” She said.
“Tell me her husband’s name.”
“You don’t remember?”
“Greg? No. Mark? No. It is a “G’ name. Right?”
“I can’t believe you don’t know this.” Lauren said tormenting me.
“Just tell me the kid’s names.” I pleaded. “I know their girl is Madison because Nikki said that on the phone. But what is their son's name?”
“I am going to let you figure it out.”
“Lukas? No he is Greg and Janelle’s Boy. Janelle’s husband is Greg right? No Greg is Nikki’s husband. Wait a minute. Nikki's husband works for a retirement home. Greg works for NASA. You are seriously going to make me figure this out on my own, aren’t you?”
Lauren just laughed. I ran through a bunch of names and she did not even give me a sign whether I was hot or cold. We finally arrived at the party and greeted Nikki and her kids. I listened closely trying to figure out what her son’s name was, to see if she would say it. Nothing. After about 10 minutes Nikki apologized to Lauren about something and Lauren said, “That’s okay. Bill doesn’t know that your son’s name is Jared. He has been trying to figure it out for the past half hour.”
She threw me under the bus.