I saw an odd interaction on Wednesday. I can’t quite shake it from my mind. It probably means nothing, but.. well, you decide for yourself.
I am sitting with my baby in a circle of other mothers with their babies. We are in the children’s section of the local library. Babies are cooing, the ones that are mobile are.. well, mobiling. Nibbling dirty goodies from the floor and gurgling at each other, chubby fingers reaching out to explore each other’s eyeballs. At the head of the circle is a woman who works at the library, with a notepad in hand.
‘Right,’ she says, ‘Welcome back mothers, and babies. Before we start this week’s singalong I’d like to go round the group and get all your names and your babies’ names.’
So round the group we go.
I’m Cindy and this is little Aiyla.
I’m Anna and this is Kyle.
I’m Sarah and this is Amy.
I’m Lilly and this is Darcy.
And so on.
Until we come to an older lady holding a chubby little cherub with a bow on her head. The cherub, not the lady.
‘Hi,’ the lady says, ‘I’m Steph and this is my granddaughter Sofia.’
‘Oh!’ the library worker exclaims, ‘Stephanie! You probably don’t recognise me out of context.’
Steph squints at her, smiles politely, cocks her head.
‘We used to live on the same street in Goodbridge. A good many years ago.’
‘Oh!’ Steph says, laughing awkwardly, ‘Yes!’. Her lips lied to her eyes.
Yet she still squints at the library woman and cocks her head, almost unintentionally.
‘Yeah we used to have a good natter back then. Hahah. Right, who’s next?’
Steph relaxes visibly, sinking into her seat. She doesn’t look like she recognised the library woman.
Then the strange thing happens. A couple of new ladies walk in as we’re doing the introductions. We widen the circle and they seat themselves somewhere before Steph.. so that the library woman has to go back to them and get them to introduce themselves.
Then it’s Steph’s turn again, seemingly, because the circle is quiet and the library woman is looking at Steph, pen poised, ‘And you are?’ she says, pointedly, as though Steph is being slow.
Steph looks surprised, she stutters, ‘uh, yes I’m Steph and this is my granddaughter Sofia..’ and her voice fades away.
I thought it was all so baffling. How did the library woman recognise Steph from long ago in the first instance and then forget she ever knew her, and then proceed to also forget that she had already introduced herself?
What do YOU think?