Monday, July 8, 2013

Awkward (AM)

Like the actor Aaron Paul, from the smash hit series Breaking Bad, my surname is a common first name. And like Aaron Paul my surname is common for people of my sex. As such sometimes people that get an email from me or have a file on me or something call me by my surname. I wonder if that happens to Aaron Paul. Who knows? Turns out he has an actual different surname and Paul was originally his middle name. So if it does happen to him, I have no sympathy. Anyway, sometimes I correct people. You know, if I am going to have some kind of relationship with them. Or if it is convenient. Or if they seem like an idiot and I feel like highlighting that fact. But sometimes I just let it go. You know? Like if I'm never going to see then again or if I can't be bothered. I mean, who gives a shit. I know who I am!

You know what's awkward though? If someone calls you the wrong name and you don't correct them and then they keep calling you that. Sometimes, if it happens a couple of times I decide I have to correct them, but now and again it gets out of hand, too far and you just can't correct them anymore. And sometimes it is physically impossible. 

Like the dentist I started seeing recently (in a strictly professional sense) called me by my surname recently, let's say I'm Aaron Paul and she thought I was a man named "Paul". I've seen this dentist a few times in the last few months getting some muffffillings done and the way my name comes up on her computer screen is surname, first name. I assume it is the same for everyone. In the past it hasn't been a problem, she read it right, called me J, or, for consistency, "Aaron". But last week I go in, settle into the chair, she says, "Ok Paul, open your mouth." I figure it's a one time thing and that I'll correct her when I have the chance or she'll figure it out. Then she anaesthetises my gums sticks in her instruments and doesn't remove them for 20 minutes, saying things at frequent intervals like, "How you going Paul?", "You're doing really well, Paul", "Not long now Paul." WTF? How can I say anything? Literally!? What made it even more awkward was that her assistant, who was in the room, had called me on the phone just minutes before I arrived because I was a little late and had called me by my actual name! So there we all were, the dentist with her hands in my gob calling me by my surname as if it was my first name, me  unable to correct her, the assistant unwilling. Awkward, you guys, real awkward.

Eventually I thought, well, this dentist is a real name user so after this filling nightmare is over she will no doubt call me the wrong name again and I will set her straight, laugh it off, tell her it happens all the time. But IT NEVER HAPPENED! Once my teeth were filled she didn't call me anything. Just said goodbye and hustled me out the door like some dime store hooker.* And I couldn't just take it upon myself to tell her, apropos of nothing (except the preceding 20 minutes), that my name was J, or Aaron**. Do you know what it's like when you've got a numb face, have just spent 20 minutes with someone drilling, and fumbling in your wide open mouth while calling you the wrong name, and then have to walk out into the cold dark night? Degrading guys! It's effing degrading. So I just let the charade linger. Awkward you guys! Awkward!

*That's not a thing is it?
**This pseudonym thing is confusing.

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