“Sorry, I’m Deborah.”

22 Jan

**This is the true account of an encounter that happened at work yesterday, however names have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities.

This week at work I have had the opportunity to shadow other departments in the hospital. My job was simple – write down everything they were saying to patients so that we (meaning the managers) could work on more unified scripting for the departments.

On this particular morning I was on the second floor of the hospital shadowing our concierges, Juan* and Morgan*,  in the surgery wing. I watched as they brought the patients checking-in for surgery to their rooms and helped them get settled and explained about the (awful) hospital gowns, nurse call light/TV remote, etc. Once everyone was settled, the concierge would offer a warm blanket to the patient and coffee to the waiting family members.

Every 10 – 15 minutes, they would make a sweep of the floor just to make sure everyone was still comfortable and didn’t need anything. It was during one of these sweeps, my world turned on its axis.

Juan approached room number 12. The curtain was pulled 3/4 of the way across the door. From where I was waiting in the hallway, I could only see the family member. Juan knocked, entered and introduced who I was and explained I was there to shadow him.

Upon hearing my name is Mariah, the family member immediately turns and stares at me. 

[Long pause]

  Her: “What’s your last name?”

I told her.

Her: “I know your parents.”

Me: “Oh?”

Her: “Yeah, Robert* and Cathy*.”

Juan: “Wow. You must really look like one of your parents.”

Me: “No, I’m really the perfect mix of both of them. I don’t think I resemble one more than the other. How do you know my parents?”

Her: “I don’t know many Mariahs and I use to work with them at the restaurant. Have you every heard of  it?”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve grown up hearing stories about the restaurant my entire life.” 

Juan finishes talking with the patient and exits the room

Me: “Oh, you didn’t tell me your name.” [sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, please don’t say Deborah]

Her: “Sorry, I’m Deborah*.”


Now, without some background information, this little encounter means nothing. So let’s start from the beginning. I have heard about this woman my entire life, but until yesterday, I had never met her.

You see, she was one of my dad’s old girlfriends. Before he met my mom, they went out a few times. And yes, they did all work at the same restaurant together in the good old days. According to the stories from my mom, she and Deborah were friendly until Deborah discovered my mom and dad were dating. [It’s important to mention Deborah already had a new significant other at the time.]

Most of the stories I’ve heard growing up were about things she did that annoyed my dad — things she said or the way in which they were said. I’ve only grown up hearing said stories because if you ask my dad, every now and then, I will say something, or do something that reminds him of her. For years I’ve asked him to describe it so I’d know what it was I did, but he said it’s something that indescribable.

Lovely, I have some weird trait that can’t be explained.

Honestly, what are the odds that I would be shadowing that department, on the exact same day and at the exact same time, while she was there waiting on a family member, friend or loved one to have surgery? Honestly, a daughter should never unexpectedly meet one of her father’s exs, it’s just WEIRD. But to give her credit, she didn’t seem to hold any ill-will towards either of them, that or she hid it well… something I’d rather not think on.

And now I’ve met her. And what bugs me the most is that she knew exactly who I was based on my name, while I was left guessing who she was until she mentioned working at the restaurant, because then I had a gut feeling I knew exactly who I was speaking to. And after retelling the odd encounter to my parents on the drive home from work, two questions came to mind:

  1. How in the world did she know what my parents named me? (As I mentioned above, she stopped speaking to them when they started dating.)
  2. Who is crazy enough to remember the name of an ex’s child (whom you’ve never met) 25 years later?

Sometimes I wonder how I find myself in these odd situations, then I remind myself my life and blog would be terribly boring if nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Besides, this will be one of those fun stories to tell my future grandchildren.

“Have I ever told you about the time I met one of your great-grandfather’s ex-girlfriends…..”


One Response to ““Sorry, I’m Deborah.””

  1. Caitlin January 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    Haha! Your two questions are the exact same ones I was thinking while reading your post! *weird* 😉

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