Inexistent times in Canada

I received the strangest message last night on Facebook messenger.

It was from a very, very old friend, whom I hadn't seen in at least 20 years. In fact, even "friend" is probably stretching it, since it was from a guy who was one class below mine in primary school, and who I don't think I ever spent any significant amount of time with.

But when I received his friend request a few days prior, I at least remembered his name and who he was, and I accepted it without really thinking. That's kind of one of the best things about Facebook, right? Keeping up with close friends, and getting occasional insight into "Hey, it's that guy!" people you vaguely remember from a lifetime ago. So far, so good!

But here's the weird part. Last night, he sent me a message, which said (and I'm slightly paraphrasing here), "Hi Joëlle! Facebook suggested I send you a friend request. What a pleasure to go through your profile - you are radiant as I had never seen you! I remember visiting you in Canada, I think ... a long time ago."

Now, the compliment I'll certainly take, because even if "radiant" isn't a word I've often heard used to describe me, it's still a nice little boost on a Sunday night as you're facing the work week ahead.

But ... he remembers visiting me in Canada? How? When? Where? I've barely ever BEEN to Canada, and certainly never stayed there long enough for anyone to visit me!

So after I obsessively read his message over and over last night, I then turned to some pretty layered and nuanced overthinking: Did he a) confuse me with someone else, whom he did visit in Canada? b) think he had indeed visited me, but get the country confused? (in which case, he's still wrong) c) imagine the entire thing? d) have one too many drinks last night? e) ... Am I the one not remembering an actual visit in Canada long ago with a guy I barely know?

So I'm perplexed! Flummoxed, even! I feel like this is almost some type of mystery, and while it's probably got a very basic explanation, like, "Whoops, my mistake," what if there's more to it? Because how do you just invent trips to other continents to visit people?

And what if I just started doing the same thing? You hear about crime witnesses misremembering things all the time, right? Convincing themselves they saw something that never happened? False memories, suggestibility... What if I just chose another random person from primary school and sent them a message, like, "I remember visiting you long ago in Australia! We pet a kangaroo and enjoyed some terrific shrimp, remember?" Maybe they would remember! Maybe that was his intent, too, in writing me!

But I'm not going to fall for that one. No siree. Nice try. I've just written back - casually, mind you - with a throwaway comment that I don't remember seeing him in Canada. Let's see if he explains further.

Until then, the mystery remains.

Love,
Joëlle