By Any Other Name

Have you ever wondered what your life would have felt like if you had been named differently?  Would things have gone differently for you if you were named Oliver instead of Dave, or Polly instead of Tiffany?

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that, but today at Burger King (it was necessary, believe me) I had the opportunity to be someone else for just a few seconds. The guy at the counter took my order, looked up and said “Name?”  And for some reason I told him “Clara”.  I do not know why Clara, I just wanted to see how it felt.  It’s not my name, not even close.

I realize there was no danger involved as in a spy alias, and it wasn’t like I was lying either – he didn’t specify that it had to be my name. It was just a small, secret excitement to keep my own name hidden and be a Clara for a few minutes.  That old fashioned name that I never hear much anymore…  I had to spend the wait time consciously thinking Clara thoughts, lest I forget who I was trying to be and not recognize my food when it was called out.

What became clear to me is that I have become so accustomed to “living in” my name, writing it, seeing it on letters, name badges, checks, hearing it spoken and just thinking it, that I can’t imagine being anyone else.  It identifies my life to me and it feels strange to be called anything else.  Just sayin’…

Clara's receipt, complete with ketchup.
Clara’s receipt, complete with ketchup.

(Another totally weird thing is to google your name and see how many other people are called the same thing? How can that be? Have you done that?)

A to Z Challenge: Zenaida

I met her several years ago because her son was needing help with his English schoolwork.  I was a tutor for the “No Child Left Behind” program and arrived at their home one day after school to spend some time meeting the family and assessing exactly what was needed.  Our friendship went from being centered on her son to food rather quickly.  She was always cooking something in large quantities and urging me to take some.  She packaged hot meals and sold them to workers at her husband’s workplace.  

She and her husband were Hispanic and back in Mexico she had gotten a degree in Accounting, I think, but that didn’t count for much here in the States.  She did whatever she could find to do in between her children’s school schedules. Her husband worked in construction but this was in 2008 and Florida’s economy was taking a hit.  They were barely making their house payments, but they had their own place. It was clean and neat.  

Our friendship deepened later on. Hispanic women (and men) have a thing for fragrance and Zenaida signed up with me to sell cosmetics and perfume.  We marketed together, got dressed up and went to sales meetings.  Later still, when my daughter needed an extra hand in her house-cleaning business, I suggested she try Zenaida and it was a good suggestion.  The clients loved her integrity and work ethic.  When my daughter moved on to vet school, Zenaida inherited her business.  

Zenaida is still the friend who shows up at birthday parties and graduations with a full tray of home cooked tamales (my daughter’s favorite). She still wants to help with my cleaning and yard work and is the hardest one to take any pay for her work. She just wants to be a friend, and she is.  And her name begins with Z (for which I am thankful). 

Zenaida is a common name for women in several cultures and is also the name given to the Zenaida dove which is our mourning dove.

Proud to Be Silly

I was debating whether to adopt the practice of having a certain type of post on the same day of every week, which seems to be common practice on many blogs, say like Silly Saturday. .  But I decided no.  This is my chance to not copy others.  So I’m going to be silly whenever I feel like I need to be, which would be tonight.

I name things. Sometimes I name things because it is easier to remember a name than it is to remember what the thing is.  For instance, Ted.  Ted is a piece of furniture I’ve had for over 20 years. I’ve never been able to figure out what exactly Ted is but it sits in my dining room and holds dishes and tablecloths, batteries and flashlights.  Not a china cabinet, not really a buffet, it became easier to just call it Ted.  Especially when trying to tell someone like the husband where to find something in it.  “Look in the drawer of the…. of the….. that thing in the dining room!”  So much easier to say “Look in the top drawer of Ted.”  And now, after nearly a quarter century he’s finally figured out who Ted is.

I also like to name my vehicles.  They are with me for so long that they become disturbingly like family members – they may as well have names.  My last vehicle, the Aztek, was named Sunny which was short for sunshine, being that it was bright, schoolbus yellow.  I’ve had my new old car for almost three weeks now and have been unsure what to name it.  I wanted something meaningful.  Today I decided to call it LC (Elsie).  LC stands for little car which is my first thought almost every time I interact with the thing. “My goodness, this is a little car!” I think, as I try to figure out where to put my coffee cup, my cereal bowl, my purse, my workbasket, my sunglasses, and my lunch. “My goodness this is a little car!” I think as the husband bangs his head climbing into the passenger seat.  “This is a little car!” I say to myself as the pump only puts in 9 gallons on a fill-up and goes twice as far on that as the previous vehicle.

I have a daughter with the “naming gene” too.  Her present truck is named Nemesis.  We bought it for her rather hastily, without her input and she pretty much can’t stand the thing. The car she had before Nemesis was named Claire.  I know she named her very first car too but I can’t remember it’s name, Patty or something like that. I didn’t really bond with that car.

I’ve named my houseplants (because I can never remember the word “hydrangea”), several notebooks, my kindle, and my property (the oneacrewoods). I have a cat I call Gray Kitty, which is a very practical name for a gray cat.  So you see, naming things is kind of an adaptive mechanism as well as being a bit odd, and it serves me well.  I’m just sayin’, I’m kind of proud of being silly when it comes to names.

Have you ever named an inanimate object? C’mon, fess up.