I felt pretty bad about it, which is why I am telling you. Among other things, so many other things, I am compelled here on clerkmanifesto to confess every single sin.
But I also want to explain why I don't feel that bad.
Someone came to me at the front desk of the library. They said something like "I guess I should change my address. I retired so I better change my work email to my home email instead."
I thought she wanted to change her address and her email address, so I asked her for the required documentation that verified her new address, which is practically anything with her address, no matter how random. She started looking for an address, but I think she just wanted to change her email address and was confused by the whole thing. So she said "I worked here. I just retired and need to change my email address." Then, even more taken aback she said "I'm Jane Morrison." Like I should know her!
LIKE I SHOULD KNOW HER!
I worked with her for five or ten years in the twenty-tens, when she was a librarian at least part of the time at my branch before moving all her hours to another branch in our system.
"Oh my god!" I exclaimed. "Jane Morrison! Of course. I'm SO sorry. I just never really looked up." I exclaimed, looking up, thinking:
Wow, she looks so much older. I barely recognize her!
My relationship with this co-worker was always pretty stilted. Besides our not having a great deal to do with each other, her lack of warmth, common cause, and lack of a sense of humor kept us pretty distant. Curiously she was the mother-in-law of one of my long gone co-workers of that time. But I just add that pointlessly to increase my word count and because it is super interesting.
So it was a bit embarrassing to not recognize her, but I make the following point to myself, and now to you too:
As a longtime colleague and acquaintance, how about a greeting like: "Feldenstein, Hi, nice to see you. Now that I am retiring I better change my email address." This just seems so basic.
But either way, I now pronounce myself, absolved.