(photo credit: Where Norm from Cheers seat was in the tv show by Abi Skipp on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)
We’re leaving the restaurant at the end of the night when we stop to chat with the bartender. A half hour earlier, the bar was packed and he was so busy that we would have walked by without saying hello, but we were kind of closing down the place, so he was available for a quick hello.
He used to bartend at a restaurant that my husband and I frequented when our kids were little. On nights when we could only get away for a couple of hours, we’d sit at the bar and order dinner and chat with this guy and whoever else was sitting near us. I’d like to compare it to the bar at Cheers but we weren’t regular enough for that. Still, our bartender friend was entertaining and a little bit crazy, and we always looked forward to conversations with him.
Since he’s been at this newer restaurant (by far the best one in our town), we’ve eaten at the bar on occasion and chatted with him, always remembering the days back at the Grapevine (the old restaurant we loved, which no longer exists.) It is comforting to have a history with people, whether they are family or friends or the guy who serves you drinks.
After we spoke with our bartender friend upon leaving the restaurant tonight, I pulled my husband aside to ask what I always ask after we see him: what’s his name? The husband laughs. He can’t remember either. We both have a mental block when it comes to this guy’s name. We each have asked others his name multiple times, and when we’ve gotten the answer, we swear to ourselves and each other that we will not forget it again. I even have created pneumonic devices to remember his name but forgotten the devices when I need them.
The worst part is that I know his name is not unusual. It is Joe or Bob or Jack, but it isn’t any of those three names. Something basic though. Rick? Dave? Dan? Nothing sounds right.
I used to be so good at remembering people’s names, but some time in the last fifteen or so years, I’ve somehow lost that part of my brain that could place the name and the person together.
The next time I’m in the restaurant, I’ll ask a waiter the bartender’s name and he or she will tell me and I will promise myself that I will not forget it. I will drill it into my head. I will come up with tricks to remember it. I will quiz my husband on the name so many times that our dreams will be filled with his name.
Maybe, just maybe, it will be enough this time, and his name will be forever engraved into my mind.
Maybe but if we’re going to base it on experience, I’d have to say that it is highly unlikely.
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