Tonight when we were out getting a pizza I saw a guy I met ages ago. As soon as he was out of earshot I said to Chris, "he's the guy who said 'the thing I like most about New Year's Day is you end up having breakfast with a bunch of people you didn't know.'" I waited until he was out of earshot because he already knows the story and is probably tired of hearing me tell it.
Since I am painfully shy, I seem to align myself with more brazen friends so I can sometimes do things more interesting than cower in my closet. This was one of those times.
Many years ago, I crashed a New Year's Eve party with my friend Francine. We were so successful crashing that party that we crashed another one, taking a few new friends from the first one. And then we did it again. And so it went, into the morning, when a whole group of us went out for breakfast.
Although I have known him for years, I have never been more than sort of acquainted with Mr. Memorable Quote. He dated a friend of mine for a long time (more than a couple months), that friend in turn dated the guy who my other friend swiped from her before dumping him for the guy she married. Pretty far down the Aquaintanceship food chain, I'd say.
So he will always be "the guy who said...."
Whenever I see him, I tell whoever is with me the story. Probably the first few times I saw him after The Breakfast of Strangers I reminded him of his comment and how funny I thought it was. It's about all we have to talk about.
For years a former co-worker asked me if I was still seeing that nice boy who brought me snacks. Eventually I married the snack boy - now he has a name. He graduated from the one line summary.
I'm sure there are lots of people who I sum up in one phrase or story. The girl who had a crush on my boyfriend, the guy who ran over me on his bicycle, the french horn player who introduced me to opera, etc. That's who they are to me.
And I've just now started to wonder, how many people remember me by just one thing I said or did? And of course the logical, cringe-inducing next question: what was it?
Which is why I'll probably go back to my closet sanctuary.