Apparently I make quite a non-impression. Yesterday morning I ran across the street to the coffee shop for a quick bagel and cup of alertness. The cashier ran my credit card and informed me that it had expired, and it was all I had brought with me. "I need to run back to my office to take a call in three minutes," I said. "Would it be cool if I came back in about an hour to pay?"
A skeptical look from the cashier, as if he and his co-workers had just received a fax from the FBI alerting them to be on the lookout for the $3.95 scam artist. Suspect is approximately five feet, three and one half inches in height, with messy bedheaded red hair, wanted in six countries and most of the United States for the "oh, I forgot my money" bagel and espresso scam. Suspect is considered non-threatening and, in fact, quietly charming but should not be approached aggressively, as she will flee with as many baked goods as she can grab. You are advised to ask her for a baby- or dog-related favor (her greatest weakness) to keep her on site until the authorities arrive.
"I've lived right across the street for two years. I'm in here all the time." I smiled hopefully.
I knew this guy by name. We'd had friendly interactions dozens of times over the past 700 days as I'd tapped a thoughtful index finger to my chin while choosing between a chocolate croissant and an everything bagel. I've spent countless hours in this place, working on my laptop, chilling with the New York Times, hanging out with friends.
Then the cashier said "I've never seen you before."
I laughed, because I thought he was joking.
He wasn't. I looked at the girl next to him, who also has looked at my face and heard my voice dozens and dozens of times. "You remember me!"
No flicker of recognition.
Very Twilight Zone.
I know I don't have a big, loud, "look at me" personality or bearing, but what the heck? Am I seriously that forgettable?
Maybe I'm one of those aliens that Virginia Madson played on the "Unforgettable" episode of Star Trek: Voyager. You, know, this one: "Cmmdr. Chakotay falls in love with an alien (Virginia Madsen) who possesses a unique physiology - her pheromones wipe all memory of her presence from the mind of anyone she meets within twenty-four hours." This is going to make any kind of long-term relationship very difficult.