I ran into Carissa the other day when Gluten-Free Mama and I were in the Willits Safeway. Primarily focused on avoiding land-mines in the form of side-displays, an occupational hazard of shopping here, I managed not to hit her with my grocery cart. Of course I didn’t recognize her for a second or two until GF Mama nudged my little pea brain by saying to me, “Carissa?” as in seriously? I know you know this woman.
After exchanging hugs, I did my usual apology thing, which I do a lot. Even though I had “just” seen Carissa at the wedding in the redwoods (Samantha and Caleb) a couple of Septembers ago, I still fumbled the ball. In any case we exchanged pleasantries, GF Mama complimenting Carissa on her aesthetically pleasing Facebook posts, which we both enjoy, and we moseyed on along.
The raptor had streaked past in front of us and dived, the land falling away fairly steeply along this section, so that I watched it pull up, circle the oak, and land. We’re talking ten-twelve seconds-max, before I could whip my camera out and make it do its thing, so Gluten-Free Mama graciously pulled over so that I could get out and have a better chance of getting a decent photograph.
She’s like that, you know?
Our five-mile-long driveway provides us with ample opportunity to check out the wildlife, including the juvenile black bear that loped across the Bell a couple of months ago, only a little more than a mile up from the highway. It was gone before I even thought about my camera.
Snap your fingers and you miss out-it’s that quick, kind of like life. It doesn’t seem like a dozen years since I was run out of the teaching game by the new sheriff in town-the one with the big star on its chest, STAR Testing, of course.
After doing the multi-graded, theme-based, hands-on, integrated, team-taught program for ten years, it was devilishly hard to be instructed in how to “teach to the test.” So much so that I hung up my gloves, and slunk out of the ring.
Now I am friends with as many former students as I could track down on social media, the only minor difficulty being that I still have their images from middle school days, ingrained on my memory, despite seeing upgraded photos of them on Facebook. The further back I go, the better my memory, which explains why the dated images are more likely to remain with me than the updated photo versions.
GF Mama is good at names and she helps me out. Otherwise, when it’s obvious someone recognizes me and I don’t reciprocate, I stick my paw out and say, “Howdy! I’m Mark,” and that generally gets the desired result. Afterwards, laugh out loud, I do the apology thing.
Especially when I call Shayla, Heather, or Heather, Shayla. Sigh. I know it happened, but too late to do anything about it. On the other hand, if this is the worst thing I have to deal with, I’m OK with that.
Though I always expect that folks will race away from what must be their worst nightmare, a former middle school language arts teacher, I am always delighted when a connection is made. Somehow a circuit becomes completed, every time I have one of these chance encounters, which is a good thing.
All signs of life upstairs in my swiss cheese brain, with its many holes, gaps, land-mines and crevices, are appreciated, so we’ll move forward with that thought in mind. If I happen to step into one of those holes, and the wrong name pops out of my mouth, you can give me a hard time about it, and I won’t mind.
Besides, I’ll have forgotten it ten minutes later anyway.