She is me. Having a nice sushi lunch with Tam, Turk and Shootin' Buddy last weekend, I had just realized I'd put entirely too much wasabi on my last bite when a slender, fair-haired teen-aged woman walked over and said, "Hi, Bobbi!"
I went blank. Who do I know who's that young? Names fled me, as they so often do.* I knew her from somewhere....
Between wasabi and panic, my expression gave it away. She looked a bit let down and said, "I'm your niece, remember?"
Right, riiight.... I have two nieces of nearly the proper age except neither one of them is especially light-haired, geeesh, okay, it can't be the one that lives a couple hundred miles away, can it? So that leaves, um, she has an older brother.... I have by now retrieved nearly all the names of relatives in her generation and those of most of their spouses. But she looks much too old to be one of those two; and just who let one of my young nieces out unchaperoned, anyway?
"Sure?" I smiled, "It's good to see you..." Name, name? Nothin', oh, geesh, yes! Got it! She has the same first name as two other cousin's spouses, "K--"
She cut in, "I'm here with some friends and just wanted to say hi!"
About then, a missed bit of wasabi hit the back of my throat, so I simply nodded and she returned to her table. Oh, that went well.
As I returned to my meal, I did a quick mental run-through of ages and....the nieces I remember playing tea-party like, ummm, last week maybe? Wrong. Majorly so: Startin' college. Driving cars. Prolly payin' bills, even.
E-mail from my Mom about not spending enough time around the family arriving in ten, nine, eight.... Wasn't quite that quick showing up but she's right.
They grow up so fast! And they won't wear name badges or even have a consistent hair color, either.
* Sadly, I need to interact with someone fairly regularly over several months before I am able to reliably associate faces and names. This is a lack of aptitude that leads to no end of embarrassment and social awkwardness. And when it comes to the young and growing, I might as well give up and make a crib sheet with recent photos and names.
P.S. Either I can't spell "wasabi" or both spellcheckers available never heard of the stuff. Hmpf. And it's one of the best things about sushi.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago