Last week, I spent two nights at fundraisers, and went to my niece's play, a shiva house and an art gallery vernissage. I ate four meals in jam-packed, popular restaurants. Over the weekend, I attended two large parties.
Tons of people, faces and names.
Most of whom, most of which...I didn't remember.
Now this is not an "age" thing. It's just that with a 30-plus-year career, dozens of concentric, intersecting social and professional circles, locally, nationally and internationally, one's internal database tends to blur. At least mine does.
Sometimes, people need to be in context for me to remember them. The guy I see nude in the hockey dressing room looks somewhat different fully dressed with his wife and kids at a restaurant (which is why I looked at you strangely at the Agora on Friday...sorry!).
I've read all the Harry Lorrayne et al "Improve Your Memory" books. I learned all the tricks. Now I see people, remember that their name rhymes with knob-gobble...but don't remember their name.
My conclusion after all this? That the next killer app is a way to "tag" people live-and-in-person the way we do photos on flickr, websites on del.icio.us, videos on YouTube and...well, you get the idea. This way, the next time some somewhat-familiar face comes up to me at a party, I can say:
"Oh, you're Anat Benedict! We went to college together...Vanier, right? I remember hanging out in the Green Room? And didn't I once ask you out and you said 'No'?"
Instead of saying:
"Sorry, I am trying so hard but I really don't recognize you. Please let's relive the past 40 years of our lives so that I can make some sort of connection and at least end this conversation in a more graceful manner than which I started it."
Look folks, I'm no tech wizard. I don't know how to do this unobtrusively so that your characteristics and our common history pops up on my cellphone, on my Blackberry or in the ether whenever you get within Bluetooth range of me. But someone smart out there oughta be able to figure this out and make it commercially viable.
This could be bigger than email.
And the generator of the biggest goddamn Pow! Surprise Shock of 'em all:
Me Remembering You