What’s in a name?

I want to talk about the name of this blog. It is not about travel (unless you consider wandering around in my mind with me a form of travel). The title, Everywhere I Go, is short for “Everywhere I go I see people I know and they’re all ignoring me.” I’m an inveterate, unapologetic people-watcher. And because I’m looking at faces instead of staring at the ground, or a PDA, I do often see people I recognize. Admittedly they are not always people I know, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t seen them before. It’s not unusual for me to see someone, say, on the street in downtown Boston, and then later that day see them again, like in the parking garage at Alewife station. I don’t know them but I sure do recognize them.

I go to see the Red Sox occasionally. I’m sure that among the 35,000 some odd people at Fenway with me are people I know. Sitting between home and first, about halfway back, I get the urge to stand up and shout, “Does anyone here know me?” I haven’t done it yet but someday I might sneak a bullhorn in and try it. Last time I went to a game I saw a woman from my neighborhood right as I walked through the turnstile into Fenway Park. I felt kind of smug in my seat that particular day.

I like to think that if I actually know the person I see that they would, indeed, say hello or otherwise acknowledge my presence, but that’s not something you can count on. I know plenty of people who pivot and go in the opposite direction as soon as they see someone they recognize from their past. I, on the other hand, tend to follow the person around until I can catch their eye and confirm that I know them.

One day my husband, Andrew, and I were driving in Cambridge and I saw an old friend in the passenger seat of another car. We were approaching a stop light and I said to Andrew, “Pull up! Pull up! It’s Larry, I want to say hello.” As our car pulled up beside the other I said, “Put down your window, hurry, before the light changes! Larry,” I called over Andrew. The person in the other car turned his head and I hissed at Andrew, “Put up your window, put up your window!” It wasn’t Larry. And now when I say to Andrew, “Hey, I think I know that person,” he ignores me.

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3 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. I have that same “Gee I know that person” feeling every morning when I wake up and roll over in bed. But I’m terrible with names so I don’t say anything.

  2. You probably won’t want to hear this, but I’ve come to feel that the “Gee I know that person” sensation increases as we get older, as a combined result of having known more people over the course of one’s life and the decline in eyesight. Now I find it gratifying if I can confirm that I really do know the person and have correctly associated their name and face, whether I make any contact or get any response from them or not!

  3. I’m convinced that there are doubles for everyone in the world. Perhaps even triples. My wife always says “that’s just a type” when I claim to recognize someone. I really think that the solution would be either permanent name tags or as all things are these days – an “app” for my mobile device (I don’t have an iPhone – because Verizon turned down Apple’s original offer) that I could just point at someone and instantly get all their information they were willing to share – Name, hometown, college, camp they attended, etc…. Now — this would be a great app! Any investors out there?

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