Being a one-armed girl means the recurrence of an incident where someone recognizes me who really shouldn’t; someone I don’t remember at all.
Case in point, a cashier at my local and beloved Sunflower Market, recently told me, as I was attempting to maneuver the debit card machine, that we had met seven years ago when a mutual friend introduced us. “What?!, really?” I accidentally punch the cash back option. I have no recollection of meeting him; particularly disturbing since he says he had a mohawk at the time. Now, though I know next to nothing about him beyond his obvious interest in tattoos, I learn we are actually old friends.
I also possess the natural ability to draw complete strangers to myelf with startling familiarity. A week ago, my little big sister, Genevi (or Little Gen) and I took the train to Santa Fe. Stepping off two thousand miles higher in elevation, we head for downtown and green chile enchiladas, feeling particularly aloof, original Santa Feans among a sea of tourists. Suddenly, coming up behind, I hear, “Oh yeah. Oh yeah!” An excited man in sunglasses and safari hat, strolls up to my shoulder. “Alright!,” he says bobbing to an invisible beat, “You’re a survivor!” I turn my aviators to acknowledge what cannot be ignored. He shakes a fist of solidarity, “And you’re beautiful! Yeah!” I smile, not sure if I should be flattered or afraid. “Thank you.” I’m certainly bemused. As he crosses behind me, I turn to look at him over my other shoulder. “Alright!,” he bobs, “Yeah, you are beautiful.” Then he trips over the curb, nearly smacking into a street sign. “Look, I’m falling over stuff you’re so beautiful.” I decide to be flattered. I’m not bad looking, but who knew with average good looks and one arm, you can become a bombshell. I also wonder if he has me confused with a Gulf War veteran.
I was out in Nob Hill with Little Gen, former roommate Rebecca, her now husband Josh, and three Danish girls. Long story. Point being, we walked into a full restaurant, one guy and five girls, three of whom are tall blond Danes; I figured there was enough oddity that I might slip by unnoticed. But I broke ranks and went to the bathroom with Rebecca. Coming back to the patio, a cute, brilliantly redheaded waitress stops in front of us. “Oh!,” she says, “I saw you at a sporting goods store!” I try to recall any sporting goods store I might have stepped into in the past six months. We finally identify Big Five, specifically the one on the west side of the river. Then I don’t know what to say. So, I put out my hand, and we exchange names. “Nice to meet you,” I say. If only we had gone to the same high school, this would have made sense. Rebecca and I exchange goofy smiles on the way back to our table; I’m a celebrity who’s done nothing to be famous.
Whenever this happens, I’m always tempted to say something snarky like, “Are you sure you’re not thinking of some other girl with one arm?” Except, I think in some cases, they really are thinking of someone else. For several years, I was consistently asked if I played softball or soccer. “Um, I used to do drama in high school...” They were sure they’d seen me on the field; leading me to believe I have a serious athletic doppelganger. At least, we both have one arm.
In other news, the Pink Panther recently showed up outside my back door. This reminded me that I've always liked the Pink Panther. At least I'm not the only one who can't be inconspicuous.
Walking into Sunflower, two employees on break, whom I know I’ve never so much as talked to, smile and wave from an outdoor table fifty feet away. I wave gingerly, then slip into the store, wondering if they were waving to someone behind me.
Just another day in the life.