Saturday, November 05, 2011

That Guy

Okay, so I flat out stole this post from my friend's blog... but considering part of it is my story too I felt justified in sharing it here.

Yahximusiz!", came the high-pitched greeting from the young woman walking toward us. I was walking with my former classmate. Since we studied in the same class several years ago, she has gone on to study Uyghur and opened a translation business here. After they exchanged the obligatory hug and kisses, they shared a few pleasantries and parted ways. "Who was that?", I asked as soon as we were out of ear shot. "I HAVE NO IDEA! But she asked why I haven't stopped by in so long and told me to come by soon." As it turns out, my friend is a bit of a celebrity. She has appeared on TV several times and met lots of people through studies, english corners, and her business. "I wouldn't know where to go even if I wanted to stop by", she said. She did feel a bit awkward for not knowing who the girl was but didn't have the heart to admit it in light of the very warm and excited greeting she received. She felt awkward. I felt relieved that it wasn't me.

Then, it happened. I ran into the convenience store outside the front gate of my school. Turning from the cash register to the door I came face to face with a big smile. "Jesse!", said the young man standing in front of me. "How are you! It's been a long time." There was a momentary blank stare. I have to confess that I have a rule in studying language: Fake it til you make it. If I don't understand, I just pretend and usually I can get the jist and move on without admitting defeat. Whether right or wrong my fake-it-til-you-make-it conditioning kicked in. "Hey you! How are you?", came out before I could even think. We exchanged a few pleasantries about being busy and classes and then I excused myself. Keeping with local custom I added an obligatory, "If you have free time, give me a call", thinking that would be the end of it. People often invite you to come by or call without always meaning it. Alas. He grabbed his phone and said, "Jesse, I don't have your number." I told him my number and he immediately called my phone. What could I do? I saved him in my contact list as 'That Guy'. He probably won't call anyway, I thought.

Just now my phone rang. 'That Guy' came up on the caller id. "Hey! You! Hello!", I said. By the end of the call we had a plan to have lunch. I'm debating whether I should just confess I don't know his name or play it cool and see how it goes. It seems there is an episode of Seinfeld where Jerry forgets the name of some woman he keeps running into. Maybe I should watch that for some ideas. Or maybe you have a better idea...?

1 comment:

Beth said...

Ha! I have seen that Seinfeld episode, and it's not a good model for remembering names!