Saturday, August 23, 2014

And You Are?

Have you ever found yourself in this situation: you are assembled with a group of people you don’t know – maybe it’s a meeting, maybe it’s at a party – and no one introduces themselves?

I once had to meet all my son’s teachers at a new school, in a single meeting. I introduced myself, multiple times – but not a single one of them, despite being seemingly friendly, thought to tell me who anybody was. I had no idea.

This was an extreme case; usually, I’ve got to say, when you introduce yourself, other people will respond with their names.

But sometimes, when no one steps forward to orchestrate the whole introduction thing, even when it clearly needs doing, I don’t either.

So, it doesn’t get done.

I used to be afraid that if I got the name of a person I just met wrong, they’d be mad or hurt. So, even if I was pretty sure I knew their names, I wouldn’t use them.

But people always get my name wrong. “Cheryl” sounds like “Sherry,” “Sharon” and “Carol.” My own husband-to-be thought I was “Shirley.” (I think, 90% of the time, the problem isn’t “remembering” someone’s name; it’s making sure you heard it clearly in the first place.)

But my point is: I don’t care when someone gets my name wrong.

Which reminds me of my roommate when I had a baby. Every time the nurses came in, they would cheerfully greet her as “Mrs. So&So.” And she would correct them: “It’s ‘Dr. So&So.” And the next time the nurses would sing out, “Hello, Mrs. So&So.” Over and over.

Meanwhile, my husband was happily answering to “Mr. Ursin.”

I’m just going to plunge in with names. If I get someone’s wrong and they have an issue with that, maybe it’s not such a loss.

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