i take an intensely perverted pleasure in making people say my name. it is not a hard name to say, actually it is a ridiculously easy name to say once you pay attention to the way i have said it, but i delight in making people say it over and over, with mortified faces until they get it right.
i guess it started back in albania, when my name was common enough, but not terribly so. it is a good, solid name, purely albanian as far as i know, and it does not encourage nicknames. a lot of my classmates and cousins had nicknames, and i had my share too, but nothing from my name. it was easy to say, easy to write, easy to remember, modern enough not to be ashamed of it, and it did not rhyme with neither the street songs or embarrasing body parts. i guess i took for granted the ease with which it was used, that i did not think twice about correcting other’s people names when they did not fit the most common spellings, like Evis, Ervis, Elvis, Elvi, Elvana, Elvin that i grouped all in one: Evi.
As soon as i moved to NY things changed. everybody who heard it, wrinkled their brow and depending on how important i was to them, either made an effort to say it correctly or butchered it smoothly and tried to avoid calling me by name from then on. the name tag helped, but my spelling didn’t. i was so bad at spelling, i actually had to write my name down in my palm.
then i got a job as customer service. i had all sorts of clients lined up to talk to me, especially on Mondays after a big hangover, because my voice appearantly slid a couple of octaves lower and it grabbed them by the groin. our number was actually an 800 number so they also saved money in the process. it was all lovey dovey, until we got to my name. then, i could just hear in their voices a seething feeling, the same i get when i call Dell or my Macy’s card customer service and a heavily accented voice answers. i got so many spellings that i made a list and put it on my cubicle, as a reminder of how thick these yankees really were. the list was as follows:
so i tortured them by spelling it out too quickly, then making them say it until they got it half-way right. big fun.
then my coworker and friend of three years and a half wrote me a post-it starting with:
it did not make it any easier let me tell you especially since we had both made fun of the illiterate interior designers who butchered our names. but as she would put it: c’est la vie….
then there were the telemarketers. naturally phonophobic, imagine my irkness at being woken up at 10.00AM from my much deserved slumber, to be called something that sounded like a cross between a dead bird and a bodily function. why, oh why these people do not read a bit more before they start irritating people on the phone? then they complain that they can not sell anything. if they tell me that telemarketing is satan’s way of harrasing past life sinners, i would fully believe it. learn a different language, hire a speech coach or catch your tongue with a clothes pin, but please say my name right!
nowadays, i just correct people with that contemptuous look in my eyes that says it all really. i hope they go home and think about opening up their minds and eyes and learning a different language, instead of scratching off their minds the lady with the unpronouncable name. if not, they are in for trouble, because God will make them reincarnate as telemarketers.