Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rain Woman

All my life I’ve been an idiot savant with dates. For some ridiculous reason if I hear your birthday once, I never forget it.
Some call me Rain Woman, although Dustin Hoffman’s bit with the toothpicks is out of my league.  I’m merely a single threat.  I do dates – nothing else.
Not long ago I ran into a family I hadn’t seen in years.  I had been fairly close to the wife, husband and their three kids.  I rattled off each of their birthdays — because I could.  One by one, they backed away.
My memory for dates doesn’t have a pecking order.  It can’t distinguish between people I love and a cab driver who possibly looking for a bigger tip announces, “Lady, today is my birthday!”
My 7th grade homeroom teacher, Miss Fine was born on February 9th.  I can’t get that out of my head.  I worry that data about a teacher long dead is using up space in my brain that I might put to better use.  In 1963 I resented Miss Fine for failing me in French all three marking periods and now I blame her every time I wander row after row in a parking lot searching for my car.
Just this past Sunday I was at a holiday party talking with my nephew’s live-in girlfriend.  I’d met her twice and if someone had a gun to my head I couldn’t tell him if her name was Alicia or Elise.
As I stammered with her name she was obviously put off until I said – “Okay, okay – I may not remember your name but know that your birthday is March 2nd.
She gasped.  I think I really impressed Alicia…or Elise.
I may not be able to fill in “Dear____” on her birthday card, but at least she’ll get it on time.
Trade-offs.  Life seems to be a series of trade-offs.