Do you have an old address book lying around somewhere? Perhaps it’s with your landline telephone, kept only because it’s cheaper to bundle it with your internet and TV cable than to do away with it, even though you never use it. I had to dust off my relic “Contacts” listing, in spiral bound form, the other day to look for a repairman we hadn’t used in years. Most of the entries had to be twenty years old, made before my PalmPilot, the great-great-great grandfather of my iPhone.
As I paged through it, I saw family members who have passed away and several people we are no longer in touch with. It hurt to see everyone we’ve lost and looking at my old printing from before my vision loss was a jolt to my system as well. Conversely, those who remain in our lives made me happy. Their names have changed in some cases, as well as addresses and phone numbers but they have continued to be present in my address book from the handwritten variety to an app and in my life from a young married woman to the older version I have become.
And then there were some names I did not recognize no matter how hard I tried. I have a very good memory, my husband has even labeled it “freakish”, and yet I cannot call to mind a handful of people who once meant something to me. And I wondered, how many cannot place me even though they once placed me in their book?
But I’m bothered more by my faceless strangers who once weren’t than I am about my identity being a mystery to someone else. I am sure I hardly knew the people I no longer remember but it’s still an odd feeling to draw a blank on a person you once deemed address book worthy. There are all sorts of reasons why people leave our lives but the unreasonable may be the saddest of them all.