Excuse Me, Have We Met Before? Why, I Wouldn’t Know

I have a problem remembering people’s names. I can remember birthdays, how to knit and John Locke’s view on human nature; however, I fail to retain something as simple as a name. And I don’t mean unique names; I’m talking about common names like Bob and Jane. Just this past week, I hit a record high of forgetting people I had already met. I tried to introduce myself to five people—all of whom remembered meeting me previously. Usually, I remember faces, even if names escape me, but not this week. And when I say five people, I mean I had no recollection whatsoever, not only of their names, but of ever having met them before in my life.
The other day my friend Grace and I sluggishly walked over to hang out at her dorm after eating a thoroughly nutritious meal at Mesa Commons. We laughed as we opened the door to her hall, remembering how at the beginning of our meal, as we were sitting down, I had put my tray down clumsily and spilled water all over my food. That was only mildly embarrassing compared to what happened later.
With smiles still plastered across our faces, we began walking toward Grace’s suite. “Hi Grace!” a voice chirped from the common room. We turned around to see who had said hi. A brown-haired girl got up from the couch and began talking to Grace, asking about her day. I stood by and smiled, waiting to introduce myself.
“Hi, I’m Emma,” I said, extending my hand to her. She tilted her head to the side and gave me a peculiar look. I wondered if perhaps I had said something odd. A second of silence passed. “I believe we’ve met before,” the girl said. “Several times, actually.”
My mind screamed, “AWKWARD!” I mean really, how do I explain myself out of that one? I couldn’t pretend that I was joking or say that I remembered meeting her but just forgot her name, as I clearly did not and she knew it. My mind scrambled to come up with some way to justify my forgetfulness. To make the situation even more awkward, the girl then proceeded to tell me specifically where and when we had previously met, of which I had absolutely no recollection.
I looked over at Grace. She struggled to stifle her laughter. Though her hand covered her mouth, I was sure a chuckle would escape. Apparently, she also remembered I had met her friend. Talk about feeling silly. One of the reasons I don’t drink is so that I never have moments like this; you know, the awfully embarrassing moments when your friends inform you of what you did the night before. I don’t need alcohol. Apparently, my memory is just that awful.
I smiled, trying to brush off my embarrassment. I wondered if I should attempt to remember now what she had told me when we had previously met. Darn, I still didn’t know her name. I decided to just keep quiet and avoid digging myself into an even deeper hole.
“We’ll see you around,” Grace said after a couple of minutes of small talk, excusing us to go to her room. As soon as we rounded the corner she looked at me and loudly whispered, “Her name is Sarah.” We laughed as we walked into her room and put down our stuff. As soon as I sat down, the embarrassment kicked in again. Darn, I had already forgotten her name. I hadn’t even made it five minutes before I forgot again. Embarrassed, I could barely bring myself to ask Grace to tell me her name again.
So, hopefully, I will improve with the names and get some to stick. On the bright side, I can’t get much worse than this. To help spare the awkwardness in the future, I’ve started telling people I’m bad with names when I meet them and half-jokingly, half-seriously asking them to tell me their name right off the bat the next time we meet. The next time I see them, they jokingly say their name. Little do they know that I had no idea of their name until they reminded me!