There’s a woman in town whose path often crosses mine. She is lovely and very sweet and she never fails to say hello to me. And for the life of me, I cannot pronounce her first name.

I know what her name is and at home, it rolls off my tongue (I’ve practiced). There are songs that have her name in the title and songs where her name is in the chorus. You’d think I’d remember this when I see her at the grocery store, the gym, in the parking lot of our kids’ school.

Sometimes, I call her by her daughter’s name. Sometimes, I get it out with the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Most times, I smile widely and nod. Always, I am mortified. I do not blame her if she believes me to be an idiot.

Embarrassingly enough, she’s not the first person that I have had this mental block with. My first week of college, I met a guy named Andy. I thought his name was Gary. Over the next few months, he had to correct me so often that I jokingly began hedging my bets when I ran into him by calling him Andy-Gary. It stuck. He didn’t care much for my company (go figure). Even today, when I thought of him I had to pause and ask myself, Was it Gary? Or Andy?

My apologies kind lady; I mean you no disrespect. I will try not to make your musical name sound so discordant. In the meantime, I won’t be offended if you start calling me something else. I’m thinking I deserve it.