My buddy and I have a system. Because I’m single, it’s not at all rare for me to call my buddy, Danny, to talk about some girl I met. It might be a pretty girl I saw as I was walking the halls at school. It might be a girl I had a date with last night. There are a myriad of reasons I might see fit to mention a girl. So, there are a great many girls I might mention in the course of our conversations. Most of those girls get mentioned once or twice and never rise to any level of importance. Occasionally, though, some girl is particularly interesting. In order to keep this information straight, Danny has come to put these girls into a set of categories. Most are filtered out. He never asks their names, because he has come to realize that it’s not worth learning them. It only creates clutter and confusion in our conversations when he has forgotten or confused some girl’s name. So, if I mention a girl and he predicts that I may never mention her again, she just becomes an anonymous girl. Sometimes, but not often, I mention a girl and Danny decides that she cannot be anonymous. Usually because he believes he’ll need to mention her again, or because I’ve mentioned her enough times to prove it necessary, Danny will decide she needs a name. Not her actual name, mind you. She gets a nickname. It’s a sort of honor, really. He has deemed that she is important enough to need a name so that he might refer to her accurately in our conversations. Usually having something to do with geography, but sometimes referring to her career, Danny will use my description of the girl to create a name that we will use as code when talking about her.
There was Morgantown, because I met her at school in West Virginia. There was Jamaica, because she was originally from Jamaica. There was Sweden. Not that she was from Sweden. I met her immediately after Jamaica. The most significant difference he could find was that she was white, so he named her after the whitest place on earth he could think of. There was the teacher, because she is, well, a teacher. We couldn’t use geography there, because she lived too close to home. It would have been too confusing. There was New York, because I met her during a trip to New York. She actually became special because she was so pretty. She has become our measuring stick. If I mention a girl and say, “Danny, she’s so fine,” his response might be, “Okay but is she New York fine?” This is the system we have. One might say that the perfect girl would be cool like Morgantown, as fine as New York, and…… I digress.
There is, though, one other category. It’s rare to reach it. If a girl rises to the status of being considered a fixture in my life, Danny learns her name. It takes some time. In fact, there are only three girls in my adult life that he actually refers to by name. I married (and divorced) the first one. The other two were significantly long relationships. That’s it. Those three. Everyone else has had a nickname. It’s a predictive system, I suppose. Danny knows me. He is rarely wrong. If she gets a nickname, she’ll probably be mentioned a bit.
So this morning I’m talking to Danny. We are talking about girls, of course. I had realized that there was a girl I’d mentioned a few times this past week and that we hadn’t agreed on a name. I think I had referred to her by her job, but it hadn’t really stuck. So I asked, “What are we gonna call her?” He responded, “I think this one is gonna have to be called by her birth name.” Of course I protested. It has only been a week, after all. Seems a bit premature to me. But, it’s a predictive system, as I said. “Its like that?” I asked. “Just like that.” I guess we’ll find out.