Aging causes a huge number of problems for many of us. These days, we believe everything peculiar we find ourselves doing for the first time to be the start of Alzheimer’s. Like sweeping your finger up the page of a book to turn the page.
But the most common is forgetting people’s names. Especially people who were once important in your life. You run into them months after their trip abroad and you don’t recognize them. They remind you they once saved your life by providing you with a kidney.
Given enough time—an hour or so – I can often remember an old friend’s name.
Here in Mexico, getting names right can become even more complicated because Mexicans often use several paternal and maternal surnames out of respect to all their various lineages. Compounding this, Mexican first names are interchanged with what are called nombres hipocoristicos or pet names. Francisco becomes Paco. Jesus becomes Chuy (pronounced Choowee), and Eduardo, Lalo. And a man named Jorge Flores Francisco Alejandre Rodriguez might answer to ... George.