Update/Confession: I just stepped out of the shower. All of a sudden out of nowhere (AKA my brain), a chilling realization nailed me to the wall. Yesterday, I once again called "Kim D___" by the wrong name!!!! It's "KIM S___!" Whoa, Nellie! Rigor-ing out right now!!! My apologies to my precious brunette, sweet smiling friend, Kim S___!! Jesus, come and get me now!!!
About 4 times a week, I experience the sudden feeling of being frozen in place, my palms sweat copiously, and my cheeks flame with embarrassment. It's my arch enemy come to visit - The Who Dat Rigor.
It rarely happens to me when I'm cloistered in the security of my home-sweet-home. That's one of the few places on the planet where I feel safe from those sudden sick feelings of panic. I have a front door with a lock. And, I know how to use it. If I can't see people, they can't mortify me.
It happens to me in the strangest places at the most unpredictable, inconvenient times like when I'm standing over the avocados in the produce section trying to remember the trick to choosing an unbruised speciman; or casually opening the door to the post office for a random stranger; or pensively leafing through a rack of blouses at Steinmart. As sudden and unexpected as the jab of rattlesnake fangs in tall weeds, the rigor tears into my brain.
MY WHOLE LIFE PASSES BEFORE MY EYES.
Floods of embarrassment pour from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. I march into panic mode. The fight-or-flight response commands my toes to tap-dance on the pavement.
I go into a full-blown technicolor WHO DAT RIGOR.
It usually goes down like this:
Someone from behind me in the produce department sings out, "Well, hello, Carolyn!" With fear and dread, I turn slowly towards the voice like a crazed woman in a horror movie and reach out to steady myself on the closest stable object. While the voice continues to speak - "Long time - no see! What have you been up to since I last saw you?!" - the Who Dat Rigor kicks in evaporating all mental capacity within my skull. All I can think is...
Who Dat talkin' to me is?!!
As I sputter simple responses - "Oh, not much!" "How 'bout yourself?" "Well, how in the world are YOU?!" - my mind goes W-I-L-D trying to figure out who the heck is standing before me. I'm talking cat-in-a-tub-o'-water W-I-L-D.
Taking slow deep breaths as I buy time with idle prattle, I begin looking for context clues. Is there a slightest-ish family resemblance indicating the presence of a kinsman? [Being born into the same clan as me does not enter your name into some sort of data hard drive in my brain. All bets are off when it comes to my memory data hard drive. There are NO familial back ups.] Does the person resemble any of my boys' friends possibly making her the MOM of said friend? [Wait, wait, wait! She looks like that kid named Cody!! Cody...uh...Jones!!! Something baseball-y! That would make her...oh, Jesus, have mercy upon me...Ann Jones! Ding-ding-ding!] Breathing a sigh of relief, I actually include her name in my next question, "Well, Ann, are you surviving the empty nest?!"
This past weekend, I went into the MOTHER-OF-ALL-WHO-DAT-RIGORS. I was out of town - a situation that creates a vacuous place called "out of context." I was in a cute little store being lulled into a dreamy shopping reverie by a rack of brightly colored 1.75 reading glasses. Then, without warning, "Hey, girl!" Innocently, I turned towards the voice. My heart filled with the sweet familiarity that a friend's face brings. I quickly said, "Hey, Lori!!" Her eyebrows wrinkled. Little beads of sweat began to dance a polka on my palms which I pressed on either side of her face. I dug my pit deeper. "LORI SPEARMAN?!" I said thinking that she was giving me the Which-Lori-Quiz. Her confused countenance rounded the corner into that look of concern given to an elderly person who is trying to remember whether or not it's Tuesday. Softly she replied, "No, I'm Kim." "Kim?!" I replied in disbelief. "Yes, I'm Kim D__." Falling short of asking her if she was SURE she was Kim D__, my hands fell to my sides and, my body almost fell to the floor into a puddle of I-needs-me-a-keeper confusimentation.
I KNOW this woman. I've KNOWN her for YEARS. She goes to my church. We recently worked together on planning a bridal shower. I KNOW her. I know her husband. I know her sons. I KNOW her. And, she only mildly resembles Lori Spearman. They are both brunettes with sweet smiles.
I'm shuddering as I tell you this story. I'm 57 years old. I'm reezunably intellergant. I still drive a car. I have sharp knives in my kitchen. No one even blinks at the thought of me wandering the streets of Lubbock, TX on my own. And, yet, sometimes people I know and love escape my short term memory by camouflaging themselves with unfamiliar faces and fleeting memories.
God gifted me with a HUGE propensity for loving people. With his boundless sense of humor, he left off my ability to remember names. Oh, He teases me often and well. I can still remember the name of the girl that sat behind me in study hall my senior year: Sharanda Reed. Haven't seen her since May of 1975. But, if I saw her picking over avocados in a produce department, I would be all, "Hey, Sharanda!" Conversely, I have only a handful of cousins that I wouldn't be able to introduce to my next door neighbor, what's-her-name, if gun was held to my head.
Now you know. I, Carolyn E. Lackey, suffer from acute Who Dat Rigor. Would you please do me a kindness? The next time you see me out and about, would you please say, "Hey, Carolyn! It's me! We have known each other since kindergarten. My name is Alice." If I reply, "Oh, Alice, I sure as heckfire remember you!!! Bing!" I'm probably lying. Bless my heart. Just give me 10 clues and 30 minutes of think time. Your name will come to me eventually. Or, it won't.