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.