Not A Name Person

With any foray into a new work environment comes the gentle unraveling of the convoluted idiosyncrasies of every child of God with whom you interact. This year, I've moved to a new school, and it is so much more wonderful than I could've imagined in my old beat-dog place (as long as you don't mind slaving like an oarsman on a Viking longboat... but I guess if I did, I wouldn't have taken this job). With the exception of a few moments of stickiness with the assemblage of custodians over pencil shavings left by the 29, yes TWENTY-NINE, children I'm educating, everyone's been completely cordial. So much so, that it caused me to have to confront one of my own quirks: I'm not a name person.

After about week two, I had met most everyone and remembered virtually no names. In an effort to help me, a charismatic teacher down the hall, by way of showing me how to better learn people's names, used mine every time she saw me:

"Hello, V!"
"I know what you mean, V!"
"So, V, are you settling in?"
"See you at the meeting, V."
"How are you today, V?"
"Wow, V, your classroom looks great!"
"Bye, V!"

It was after a few days of this that my perversion revealed itself: I had previously joked with her about being great with faces, but less good with names, and I actually DID remember her name. I picked up on the fact that she was trying to help me out, probably trying to make sure she knew my name, and was hoping I would greet her in the same way, by using her name (Melissa) that I did know.

However, I'm not a person who uses people's names. I dislike mine being used, and I don't tend to say others', unless I'm speaking to a child for a corrective purpose. I'm not sure why this is, it just grates a tiny bit, kind of like people calling me "hon" or "sweetie" used to. My family never did it, I guess, I wasn't ever around it, so I don't do it.

Yet every day, I knew what she was about and why she WAS doing it, and still I refused, and even delighted a tiny measure in NOT doing it, knowing it rankled her a little that I didn't go along with her understated wish to find out if I actually knew her name, not knowing if I was clueless or stubborn.

These are the wrinkles and uglinesses of my being in this world. I delight in messing with people's heads, creating ambiguity for no purpose, and not even I can stop me.


"Millions of mind guerrillas, puttin' their soul power to the karmic wheel."
- J. Lennon


Julie said…
Congrats on your new placement - sounds really wonderful! Hope you had a good thanksgiving and that the Christmas season is going well....
I too am awful with names - one day I hope to do better at it.
Todd Camplin said…
If your still around, I hope you will not miss my MFA show at 500x this Feb 6th.
Ari said…
J: Thanks very much! Gratifying to know you're still reading!

TC: Ooo! I'll get in touch with ya for details.

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