Recently I added an invisible Statcounter to my work homepage. The day I did so, I noticed oddly substantial traffic from several nearby schools, particularly Southwest Christian University— a small comprehensive, one with big education, business, and nursing programs and about 6000 students (mostly local, mostly pretty religious).
Then my phone rang. It was Professor Rattlebrained, whom I've met a few times. (The most extensive contact was when we were in the same car for a several-hour drive to a conference. He began with, "You teach at Granolan? Why, Southwest Christian, where I teach, is so similar!" and things went downhill from there. By the end of the drive I wanted to garrotte each and every one of his pet llamas, about whose pedigrees and habits I'd learned more than I'd ever known about, say, those of my college roommates.)
"I'm on the organizing committee for Ohindinois Ergo Day next fall, and we were wondering if you'd like to give a talk at the meeting. Hour-long. It's being held at Southwest Christian."
"Oh, thank you! I'm so surprised! And I have no idea what I'd talk about."
"The entire committee is very impressed by your accomplishments." (A-ha! Those extra hits.) "And we'd be so happy to have a woman speaking."
"Well, perhaps I could survey some recent work; there are exciting new theoretical analyses of the commercial dilution of Pilates. But I'll have to check my schedule for November."
"That sounds perfect. I'm sure you'll give a very interesting talk. Is there any chance you could let me know this week? I'm sorry the invitation is so late. I've been put in a bad position, well, the whole committee has, and I'm about to leave on vacation myself."
"I'll write you later today."
"Oh good. I hope you'll be able to accept. I do look forward to meeting you."
So: let's tally up here. Professor Rattlebrained is not, shall we say, socially adept. But still: managing to communicate during a single brief phone call that I (a) am a fill-in for a late cancellation (b) have been chosen for my gender (c) am so forgettable that, well, he's forgotten meeting me. Wow.
But, I'll take the invited talk line for my CV, thanks.