Forgetting Someone’s Name

I get into the bar, 9pm, there’s seven credit card tabs behind the bar. I cut my fellow bartender, he counts his tips, takes off.

Here’s the problem:  When I start a tab, I write down a person’s name, and sometimes, I write a note to help me remember who they are. Full disclosure here. On occasion, I’ll have a regular start a tab, I probably should know their name is Alexander, but it just hasn’t stuck. But when they come up to the bar, to order another drink, and say, put it on my tab, in these instances, I can’t just ask them what their name is. We’re far beyond that point. That’s why I have to write, stripe shirt, or brunette, or…maybe something more racy.

C’mon, people. Cut me a little slack. You know how many people I bartender for just in a week? Sometimes, at least, 500 people. Times that with 11 years of bartending, that’s a lot of names to remember.

So getting back, here’s the problem with rolling in at 9pm, with tabs already started. Sometimes, there’s a regular there, BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY NOTE. It can get complicated. I either have to say, what’s your last name again, or covertly ask their friend, please don’t tell your friend, but what’s her name? That’s always a risky move, because it’s a story they’d like to share with their friend, when they’re sitting at the bar, and the conversation is waning.

You know what’s EVEN WORSE? When five years ago, you knew a person, they may have been a regular. I mean, you’ve had many conversations with them, you’ve said their names, you know what’s going on in their life. THEN, they stop coming into the bar, for some reason. 4-5 years past, then they come back in.

And you’re screwed. Because you can’t remember their name.

And you can’t possibly ask what their name is. As if, after they’ve exited your life for a time, they become that insignificant, so much so, that you forget their name.

I just say, hey, you. It’s been so long.

And pray that they start a tab.

With me.

-Clint Curtis


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