Gary introduced himself to me a few days after we moved to the new building. The office I worked in used to be on the eighth floor of the old building; Gary’s office used to be on the second floor. After the move we were not only both on the second floor, our offices are right next to each other, so we ran into each other in the halls, the break room, and the restroom.

I think he introduced himself when we met in the break room. He held out his hand to shake, said “I’m Gary.” I said hi, how’d you do, shook his hand and gave him my name. We exchanged a few more pleasantries before we parted.

We’ve been in the new building for almost two years and I’ve said hi to Gary almost every day. Most days, I’ve said hi to him more than once a day. “Hi, Gary,” I’ve said, and he smiled and waved and said “Hi, Dave” right back at me.

Fast-forward to yesterday morning when we ran into each other in the restroom. “Good morning, Gary,” I said.

“Hi,” he said, then added, “Eric.”

I said something super-intelligent like, “Huh?”

“Hi, Dave. It’s Eric. What did you call me? I’m a little hard of hearing.”

A little?

“Uh, Gary.”

“Oh. No, It’s Eric.”

I apologized profusely and awkwardly, we traded a few more pleasantries before we parted, and now I’ll have to quit my job, move to the Yukon and live the rest of my days in a hermitage because I can’t get people’s names right even when I believe I can remember them.

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