So, to set this up, I need to head back to last night. Last night, Bria graced my dreams. Considering how much time we spent together, I'm surprised that she hasn't appeared before in recent memory. I was meeting her husband and we were getting along well. Later in the dream, she and I and three others were working together for my two previous bosses. Someone else and I were returning from a team-building retreat and she and two other colleagues were about to leave for it, so I was telling her what she could expect if their retreat was the same as ours. For being one of my dreams, it was pretty normal and pretty unmemorable, which was weird. But, it often seems that someone specifically appearing in my dream who hasn't been part of my life for a long time often precedes my actually connecting with them in some way by a week or two. I don't know how that works... I'm not suggesting I have ESP or anything (though that dream I had that I died a day or two before 9/11 was pretty freaky) but I'm also convinced that if we only use 10% of our brains that there's a lot of stuff we don't necessarily understand about how the mind works.
Anyhow, that sets up the first part. Now, let's set up the second part. I'm in Target with Rachel. I've been charged with tiring her out so she'll take her nap earlier in the day because we have plans when she would otherwise be napping. In addition to being weary, she still hasn't fully learned the valuable lesson of really being aware of her surroundings. She was a few steps behind me and a guy was coming down the aisle with one of those large carts that holds several kids in the back. Rachel starts saying "Look out! Look out!" The guy, amused, starts weaving, like he's coming after her. I didn't think he meant any harm. She, though, occupied by the cart, is not looking forward at all. And before I can stop her, she walks smack into a stopped cart in the aisle. She's startled, scared and probably a tiny bit hurt and starts shrieking. There were others around who realized that it was completely unintentional.
I had parked my cart around the corner and was already trying to get back to her when she smacked into the cart so pretty quickly she was in my arms crying and calming down.
All the sudden I hear from behind me "Excuse me." I'm thinking 'Oh, great, some woman is about to yell at me for being negligent.' But when I turn around they say "Are you James? James Lamb?" I respond that I am and they give their name, but I can't hear it over Rachel and ask them to repeat it, thinking I had heard "Barbara" and for a moment 'Barbara Beckinghausen?' flashed through my brain. I am so bad with faces, that I was wondering when she did repeat her name, Barbara Kanouse. Not Bria, but another redhead from my past. (Loosely, that is. She was pretty cool, but way out of my league. Can't really remember much of high school, but hers is one of the names that stand out.)
We chatted for a few minutes, I learned that she was married, had three kids, the youngest six, and that she lived in Tacoma, just a mile from where we live and had lived there for three years. I was still shaken up by what had happened to Rachel, combined with my own crappy ability to communicate socially with people that I am still kicking myself for not having done a better job of talking to her. I am still thinking of things I could have asked.
So that's going to be something that's gonna bug me. Here, another opportunity to catch up with an old friend, blown because I'm still just as socially inept as I ever was.