By W R Jones
I could not remember the name of the woman I painted in Cold. Then I started looking at other portraits I have drawn/painted and found several more whos names I can’t recall. I’ve got a black hole in my brain that sucks names never to be revealed to me again. Actually, some of them return, 35 years too late.
When I meet someone that I would like to remember I write the name down on a scrap of paper along with some information about that person, e.g. teacher, short, black hair, 3 kids, back of spin class. This method is ok as long as I see that person on a regular basis, but if more than a couple of weeks goes by, I can no longer connect the info to a face. I have to call out to the class, “any short, fat, teachers in here with three kids?” Generally no one answers so I chuck that scrap of paper and try to meet someone new.
I once dated a woman regularly for 8 or 9 months. Then we drifted apart. A few months later I saw her in a restaurant with friends. They invited me to sit with them. The panic started. I could not remember her name. I could not concentrate on the conversation as I was trying to recall the NAME. Why would these idiots keep talking to her without once calling her by name? I went to the restroom to search through my wallet for one of those little notes; nothing. I left still unable to think of what to call her but, unknown female. Now, of course, 35 years later it comes to me, Frances. That was helpful.
Another moniker blackout occured when I saw a woman I had worked with for several years, and had coffee with every day. I spotted her in line at Cosco. I slunk out to the parking lot with my memory tail between my legs to hide until she left the area. Out in the lot I went through the alphabet; Ann, Amy, Alison, Barbara, Betty, Cara, Christine,…., Zumpelfist in a futile attempt to revive the woman’s name. Ziltch (no, not her name; the results of my search) . Now, of course, it comes to me, Gloria. That was helpful.
A man I worked with for several years refused to believe I could not remember his name. He wouldn’t tell me after I admitted I couldn’t remember. In my mind I was telling him, “Oh, ya, now I remember, I always called you Moron Corn Nut eater.” Goddamn noisey things. His name was/is Tom. What the hell? Is there a conveyor belt of names. You put a name on it and it rolls out of view in a few weeks to return 35 years later? The product is useless by then.
I put the image of the woman from the Cold post on the portrait page of my paintings site. I gave her the name Sharon. I don’t like the idea of having a series of portraits titled Unknown_1, Unknown_2,…, Unknown_n.
Help me out here, name this child.