Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Dear On-Line, Visible to Everyone, Diary:

My local Starbucks is my "Cheers."  Walking through the door, savoring the aroma of freshly made, over-priced coffees is like sweet, sweet Nirvana to me.  The benign background banter of the patrons is like ambient white noise, lulling me in to a dream-like state from which I never want to emerge.  It's like my comfort cocoon with free WiFi.  I have bought in to this large corporate branding machine hook, line and sinker.  Sure I can make my coffee at home, but why would I when they do it so much better.  A steaming hot latte in my hands after some chit chat with the ever-friendly people, and the best part (the very best part) is that they know me.  Sure new Barristas require a short breaking-in period, but eventually they all come to know my name.  They just don't always know how to spell it.

I was blessed with (or cursed with, depending on your point of view) a slightly different name.  It's not like I was called "Rainbow" or "Moses" or "Peekaboo".  My name is different in a more subtle way.   When I think about it, it was rather progressive of my parents in the 60s.  They weren't hippies after all.  As an adult I actually like having an unusual name, but growing up I hated my name.  I would have preferred something more "with the times" like Tracy, or Michelle, or Jennifer, but my name is Lynna.  Now for those of you who just read that and heard "Line-ah" you would be incorrect.  Let's remove the "A" from the end.  We get Lynn.  Everyone has seen that name before, so let's run with it.  Start with Lynn and then ad "ah" to the end, and that's me.  Lynn-ah.  Now remove the "H" and try not to revert back to "Line-ah".  The origin of my name was shrouded in mystery for many years until it was revealed that my brother couldn't say "Linda," and (well, you know) he's first born ...

You're probably thinking that my name isn't so unusual because it's root is fairly common.  Well then you are in for a surprise.  I have been called Lina, Lena, Linda, Lynn, and even Elaine (and that was with a name tag on my desk).  Let's add to the mix that I've been divorced and remarried, which gives me a startling number of combinations, any one of which could be thrown at me without notice. Frankly I'll answer to just about anything if you're making eye contact with me.  What do I care? Is my coffee ready yet?

It turns out that both my teen-aged daughters HATE their names.  My son could care less what his name was as long as he has a computer with sufficient bandwidth, several gallons of milk in the refrigerator and enough bread and peanut butter to feed a small elephant.  I confess that I can kind of see why my middle child hates hers.  I was trying to make life easier on my first child and I picked a unisex name while number two was in utero.  Apparently I wasn't the only parent who preferred said moniker as her name propelled to the top of the charts for both sexes for several years.  Even dogs and cats have it.  That's just how over used her name is.  She ended up being given a well thought out (cough, cough) nickname in grade one when it was discovered that she shared her name with a boy ... who was there first.  The result: the over-used first name last initial combo (e.g. Sandy H or Billy R) and it stuck like glue.  It follows her even to this day when she runs in to someone she went to school with.  At least when she goes to Starbucks or makes a reservation, nobody gets her name wrong.  I bestowed a gift to all three of my children: easy to read/spell names. Write out my name and you get confusion, so I resort to using my husbands name for reservations.  Common and conveniently unisex.

Just to be clear here, to remove any potential hurt feelings , I:
  1. don't hate my name (love you Mom);
  2. don't feel anything other than love for my Barristas regardless of how my name is spelled (please don't spit in my coffee);
  3. think it's completely normal for teen aged girls to dislike their names (for my daughters).  I hear you, girls. I just don't care.
Whew!  That feels better.  For your enjoyment I have posted a couple of my Starbucks cups.

This is from one of my favourite gals.

Waikiki cup - I think it was a combo of "mahalo" and my name.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Can't Believe I Did it!

Dear On-Line, Visible to Everyone, Diary:

A couple of months ago I deactivated my Facebook account.  Cold turkey.  Just. Like. That!  Many people wouldn't understand the sheer willpower it would take for me to do it, but those are the people who don't know me.  You see I took great pride in making one, hopefully funny and/or thought provoking, status each day.  I loved it when someone commented, liked or even spoke to me in person about it.  It's not like I had thousands of friends, but the ones I had seemed to enjoy my writing, and I, in turn, enjoyed receiving praise. It's somewhat shameful, but I thrive on positive affirmation.  It all hearkens back to that childhood thing where, upon cleaning your room, your mother had to be dragged over to see the fruits of your labour.  You're pretty sure you did a good thing, but it's a mini high hearing it from someone else.

I also enjoyed looking at photos of the places my friends had traveled .  If the house was warm enough it was almost like vacationing for free.  Almost.  Many friends had interesting things to say, articles to share and invitations extended.  I liked pages of my interests and was able to get some really great tips on canning, dates for shows I was interested in, along with seeing new shoes and clothes.  So why did I quit Facebook again?  Sigh ...

I was in the middle of playing Candy Cane Blitz or Bubble Witch Saga or some other mind numbing puzzle game, attempting to procrastinate long enough to run out of time to clean my bathroom when I decided I'd had enough.  Enough of reading statuses like:

"Billy is 10 today.  I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.  I'm so proud of you buddy!"


"Celebrating 15 years of marriage today.  I love you honey!"


"Anna got straight As on her grade 5 report card.  Way to go!"

It's not that these are not noteworthy accomplishments, it's just that (frankly) I don't give a shit. Harsh, huh?  It's true though.  I don't really care.  I don't know your kid that well otherwise I'd have given him/her a card.  Same goes for the anniversary.  And let's face it, if someones kid got straight Cs we'd never hear a word.  It's just bragging, plain and simple. Nobody posts a status like, "If Billy doesn't get out of bed before noon today I swear I'm turning off the internet," or "Husband came home drunk again last night.  Time to find a lawyer."  It's all candies and puppy dogs.

Oh! And the people who don't get I'm joking on my status and make stupid-arsed comments back at me drove me berserk.  There's also people who thought they knew me from reading my status.  I had a friend ask me if I ever got my coffee and I was racking my brain wondering what they heck they were talking about.  Turns out I'd made a joke about not getting my coffee on my status several days before and suddenly that's what we had to talk about once we were face to face.  Seriously?  I wrote about my love of coffee at least once a week, but in truth I only drink one latte a day.  If you know me well, you know that about me already.

Then there's the person who has to constantly update their status.  I would say, "Don't even get me started," but I started it...  One, maybe two, statuses are peachy keen with me.  Anything beyond that and I hide your status (only most important please).  I don't care what you ate for lunch.  I don't care what your kids are doing after school.  Keep it simple.  Cut the cord.

This segues nicely in to people who post too many photos. Whoever came up with Instagram should be jailed.   Did I need to see everything you did today?  No I did not.  Ever.  I know what food looks like, so feel free to not whip out your camera at every possible opportunity.  Did I need to see step-by-step pictures of what you cooked today?  Hell no.  Pictures of your gas mileage?  Yawn.  I'm not saying that I don't enjoy pictures (see vacationing picture creeping above), but it's the constant documenting of daily, boring life that chaps my behind.

Here's another weird thing: I "friended" people who weren't really my friends.  They weren't my enemies, I didn't hate them or wish them any harm, but they certainly weren't coming over for coffee once a week.  If I were being perfectly honest I could have paired down my friends to maybe 20 people.  I was thumbing through my grade 8 annual and came across a picture of a Facebook friend.  Beside his/her name was written the word "jerk" or something to that effect.  Not only did I not really know this person well enough to call them my friend, but waaaaaay back when I didn't even like them.

So here I am, for all intents and purposes, not on Facebook any more.  I won't say it's easy.  I still see things that are aching to be made in to statuses.  Sometimes, and this is a little dirty, I access my husbands rarely used account just to play a little Bubble Witch Saga.  The rare time I do this I find myself scrolling through his news feed, drinking in the latest tidbits of common friends, ultimately annoying myself and reaffirming my commitment to remain one of the six people in North America who do not use social media (my thoughts cannot be contained in the minimal number of characters allotted by Twitter, therefore I'm not a Twit).

Pinterest doesn't count though because it's obviously a plot to make women cook and clean more ... and make crafts.  Who doesn't love crafts?