Don’t you forget about me

No, this has nothing to do with the Simple Minds song of the same name. (And please, don’t even think of making any hilarious comments about my simple mind, because believe me, I’ve already thought of several … which just shows to go ya [please beat me for saying that] that I may not be half as simple as you thought. Just a quarter.) (Brother, can you spare a dime?)
Anyway. What it does refer to is this: I’ve been wondering if the people that I used to see around Philadelphia, during my routine of years past, now wonder where I’ve gone. There were those whom I knew — such as Salvi, my adorable shoe repair man on Sansom Street, who was always ready with a broad smile and a compliment for my taste in shoes (“This a nice shoe!”); Lee, a talkative young waiter at my favorite Chinese restaurant, who was amazing at remembering not only what I always ordered but also the details of the precise way in which my best friend wanted her food prepared; an affable guy named Elliott, who used to work at a butcher shop (uggh!) in the Reading Terminal Market when I worked in other shops there in 1984, and who called me “Fingers” (I think because of the way I waved — seriously … it was nothing sexual!). (I’m ashamed of you for even thinking that.)
There were also quite a few people whom I never met, but whose appearance I could rely on a very regular basis: a good-looking older man with perfectly graying hair, an Al Pacino-esque face, and the melancholy eyes of a poet; a very old man dubbed T.S. Eliot by an old boyfriend, with one of the quietest sad faces I’ve ever seen, dressed as if he didn’t know we’d passed out of the 1940s, whose entire manner would have been more at home in black-and-white than in color; an old Greek woman with very dark eyebrows and a scarf wrapped around her head, walking beside a girl who looked exactly like her minus the scarf and 50 years.
Almost every morning on my way to work (yes, that word still haunts my vocabulary), I would pass a very attractive girl (about my age, so of course she’s still a girl) walking east on Spruce Street to her small law office as I was walking west to mine. I would note her outfit (sharp, slightly sexy, skirts not too short but short enough to show off those gams), her face (very Kim Cattrall), her walk (again, very Kim Cattrall, a la Samantha on “Sex and the City”). Everything. I never said “boo” to her … mainly because I’m not Casper the Friendly Ghost … but I never said “hello” to her either. I always thought she and I should “do lunch”. I always fantasized (down, boys!) about laughing together about how we used to always eye one another in that bitchy way that girls do and “hated” each other for being so damned attractive.
I am fairly positive that the people that I did know do notice that I haven’t been around for a while. And when I visit Philadelphia, I plan to stop by and see a few of them. (I even “fantasize” about bringing a pair of boots to Salvi for him to appreciate and admire.) But what about the Kim Cattrall girl? Does she ever wonder what happened to the dark-haired chick, always dressed in black or gray, who walked west on Spruce as she walked east? And what about T.S. Eliot? Does he wonder where the girl with the chronically raised right eyebrow disappeared to, the girl who used to pass a quizzical smile to him over her eggplant parmagiana “grinder” as he sadly sat across the aisle from her and her boyfriend in the corner restaurant?
As I said, it would be easy to plan to stop by to say hello to the people I did know. But how would I go about planning to run into the people I never actually knew? How would I manage to just so happen to run into them on some random weekday, when they would least expect it? Or didn’t they ever come to “expect” ME on the streets, the way I came to expect them? Did they derive any sort of warm comfort just by anticipating my appearance and some sort of warmer satisfaction upon passing me, the way I did them?
I wish I could ask.