Monday, November 27, 2006

Introductions

by Mouse

My wife tells me I’m lousy at introductions. She comes to various functions with me—at the school where I used to teach and now in my department—and I often forget to do the whole “RandomPerson, this is Trillian, my wife. Trillian, this is RandomPerson. S/he’s in my class/ a senior graduate student/ my professor/ a thorn in my side.” When I have forgotten and we have parted company, she will whisper in my ear, “And that was...?”

I have two primary reasons (read, desperate excuses) for my lapses.

1. I tend to think she already knows most of these people. She hears me talk about them a lot and they can easily figure out who she is since I have only the one wife. Sometimes she has met them before, but when she’s around these people for only a couple hours a few times a year, it is a bit much to expect her to know them all. For those, I quickly whisper back a name and description.
2. I don’t know their names. I’m actually pretty good with names; as a teacher, I could learn my students’ names in a very short time. But there are a lot of people in my department with a lot of significant others and friends, many of whom I don’t see much more often than my wife does. For those, a shoulder shrug is the best I can manage.

Now all of this is my long-winded way of saying, let me introduce myself and my family.

Mouse—That’s me. It’s a nickname I carried for several years when I was younger; I think it stuck because I can be quiet, introverted, and skittish. I’m a doctoral graduate student in the Humanities, currently finishing up coursework and teaching a course. Before this, I taught at a private school in a large, US metropolitan area.

Trillian—My wife. The name is an homage to Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, in which Arthur Dent finds himself on a spaceship with a woman he had once chatted up at a party, a statistically improbable event. I sometimes find it a statistically improbable event that we found each other given all of the decisions we each made before that point. We’ve been together since we were undergraduates and got married about two years ago on a visit to Toronto.

Scooter—Our son. Most of his nicknames play on his real name or are less complimentary than I would want to immortalize here (Stinker being the nicest of those). Scooter (and its variant Scooter-Pie) comes from the early days of crawling and still pops up from time to time. He’s 3 _ and a perpetual motion machine.

And the title? “It is what it is” summarizes a philosophy that I try to put to practical use. I am a worrier and have the ability to work myself up over things that may never happen or over which I have no control. And so I take a deep breath and try to take things as they come. Can’t say I’m always successful, but it’s worth a try, right?

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Mouse is: a mother, a lesbian, a graduate student in the Humanities, an American in self-imposed exile, an observer, an introvert, and an expert in Thomas the Tank Engine and Mighty Machines.

9 comments:

something blue said...

The introduction thing can be tricky especially for work functions. I can't help but laugh at the people that can't take it upon themselves to remember that they have been introduced to me twenty times or so. I now go out of my way to say hello to them and am still met with a quizzical expression of who are you?

The most remarkable person I've ever met that always remembers people is George Stroumboulopoulos. He's just so darn likeable because he always greets everyone like they are his long lost friend.

metro mama said...

It is such a great talent to be able to remember names. I wish I could.

crazymumma said...

Introductions can be stressful. I over-introduce or....just hide behind something. I sometimes forget names, but can remember phone numbers from my childhood. And, when i had to start putting real names, blog names and comment signing names together I had to draw up a flow chart I swear!
I thought you were very relaxed and lovely when I met you at Metro's.....
And Scooter....isn't that the nickname for the little girl in To Kill a Mockinbird?

Lisa b said...

Oh I hate it when I forget peoples names.
Good Excuses!

Did you mention before that you and your wife got married on a trip to Toronto? I hadn't realised. Very Romantic. I always wish I'd eloped.

Ali said...

i'm so good at remembering names...just awful at remembering the introduction part. really, i'm so bad.

Her Bad Mother said...

I can never remember my students names. Never. I can maybe remember a half dozen of the ones who stand out, but otherwise, nope.

And, once? I forgot my husband's name.

Haley-O said...

"It is what it is." Thank you for reminding me of this phrase. I, too, am a worrier. Nice to finally meet you. :)

Mouse said...

I remember teaching three large discussion sections and needing a good part of the semester to figure out the difference between the five different sandy-brown haired, baseball-hat-wearing, skinny young men in my classes. Usually I'm much better than that.

But that trick took some cultivation. I don't have the same motivation in social situations so, especially with people I doubt I'll see very often, I'm hit-or-miss.

And Lisa B--I don't think I've mentioned the actual marriage-in-Toronto thing before, though that would be a very good topic for a post here or back on my own blog.

bubandpie said...

I'm exactly the same way (am I starting to sound like a broken record yet? Is that a way outdated metaphor yet?). I never remember to do introductions, and I never remember people's names when I am introduced to them, even though I can conquer a class of 50 students in three days. I figured out awhile ago that the key is to actually pay attention to the names, which is virtually impossible to do in the midst of a social introduction, when there are so many non-verbal cues to be processing.