I forgot . . . What’s my name?

In the last year, I’ve forgotten my name twice. That may not seem so odd to you. I have friends who routinely sign checks with their maiden names, but this has only happened to me three times in almost ten years of marriage; two of those have been in the last few months. I’m hoping this isn’t indicative of early onset dementia but that there might be a better explanation.

The most recent goof-up occurred when I was looking for my nametag among hundreds, sorted in alphabetical order and spread on a table. I looked under “R” for Richardson and couldn’t find it. Convinced I’d been overlooked, I told my friend who was in charge that my nametag was missing.

“Here it is,” she said, rummaging through the “H” pile.

“What’s it doing way over there?” I asked, before sheepishly remembering my name is Hutchison.

I like to blame this lapse of memory on the fact that I’m now living in the same town as my parents for the first time since I left for college, and regularly giving their names to hospital administrators and apartment managers.

And then the day I flew to Romania last August, I did it again. After a never-ending flight and long car ride to the conference center where I’d be staying, the receptionist handed me a form to check in. I wrote my name as “Richardson, Taryn” before it occurred to me that I’m not that person anymore.

This one is easy to explain. That was my name when I lived in Romania, and I simply reverted back to it. After all, I did have jet lag and my husband didn’t travel there with me.

I first forgot my new name when I’d only had it a few months. I stood in line, waiting with several others, at a drugstore. The pharmacist called, “Ms. Richardson,” and I jumped up, along with another woman.

“I see we have the same name,” I said to her, trying to make friendly chit-chat. At that moment, it hit me that she was Ms. Richardson and I was not. 

I’m surprised it’s only happened to me three times. After all, I did use that other name for a lot of years.

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