When you’re a church organist, a lot of people get to know your name. Every weekend, folks greet me by name, and I, of course, reciprocate.
Except not really. Rarely can I use their names.
I’m not good at learning people’s names, though once I have them, I can remember them. And I’m too embarrassed to acknowledge that I don’t know the name of someone I see every week, which makes it a lot harder to actually learn names. You can imagine the reaction:
I’ve known your name for a long time! How could you not know mine, you clearly terrible person?
It took me eight years to learn the name of one of the ushers. When we head over to the parish hall on Sunday for breakfast, I hope that someone uses the names of people I don’t know so that I can learn them without having to admit I don’t know them. As for the kids who come up to chat after Mass, I’ve got a few but don’t have a clue on the rest. And don’t even ask the choirs at other churches that I play at once or twice a year. They all know who I am, but I just don’t have a chance.
A little thing? Perhaps. But it’s something that I’m looking to improve on while I’m trying to make myself the complete church musician. After all, names are a significant part of one’s identity, and people could get upset if they figure out I’m just a little clueless on something they’ve had since, well, birth.