Monday, January 17, 2011

Have we met?!

While chaperoning an elementary school field trip last week, I had an extended conversation with another mom, one who I did not know previously.

We are both working moms with more than one child.

One of the things we had in common was that neither of us spends much time at school, and that we approach school functions with a smidge of anxiety because we know that moment will come. You know that moment. And I bet you fear it, too. It's the one where a parent, who looks vaguely familiar, approaches you and picks up the conversation where it left off last time. The problem is, you don't remember that conversation and you are struggling to remember who this person is without looking like an idiot.

Here's my situation: I have three children. This means that in my years of parenting I've had children in 14 elementary school classes. Add to that the preschool / dance / soccer / theatre / religious school / softball parents. Now add in the people from volunteer work, my professional life and childhood in a nearby suburb. No wonder I'm a little slow on the pickup.

My friend in NYC doesn't have this problem. Her kids go to a teeny tiny private school and she lives in a city big enough to provide a comfortable layer of anonymity. Part of me really likes that idea. And part of me is happy to live in a small town, one where both the upside and the downside is that you run into people you know every time you leave the house.

I think this is another one of those taboo topics, one people will cop to upon discussion but never admit out of the blue.

Anyone with me?

4 comments:

Postcards From The Hedge said...

It happens to people without children too..

Sara said...

That happens to me ALL THE TIME! It's typically when I see someone "out of context", like seeing someone from church @ a work function or someone I vaguely know from the gym out @ a restaurant. Thom, of course, never seems to have that problem (lucky guy).

Thom Singer said...

I dont often have this problem, but while speaking at a large convention across the state (which in Texas means far far from home) a woman came up and started talking to me.

I had NO IDEA. None. But I am a believer that when you don't know, you just own it. I admitted "I cannot place where I know you from"....

Her answer... "I am your neighbor"...

Still no idea. We live in the larges housing development in Austin, TX.... thousands of homes. NOPE... I looked at her shaking my head.

"Brice's mom"....

OH SH*T -- not just my neighbor, I have lived across the street from her for six years! I felt like a fool.

However, we do not socialize with them, just a wave as they pass by our house. And we were 5 hours away from home.

But Leslie... it happens to everyone!

Kelly said...

Oh this bothers me so much - partly because I'm just bad with names and faces period.

And it obviously get worse as we get older because there are more places to have known them from (and more of them to remember). It was easy in our twenties as the only place you knew people from was high school, college, or work. Now it's from everywhere and anywhere throughout the many years.