It’s MIRAM, Stupid.

Posted by mwallach on November 29, 2012 in New To You |

Dear That’s Life,
I know I have written about my name before.

And I know many of you are sick of hearing me complain about how people mispronounce my name and how much it bothers me because they butcher your name even worse than they do mine (see: my brother, Ranon). I was particularly perplexed recently by the Sprint representative who asked me if my name was ‘Miriam, with an E’. Nevertheless, the irony of this post is that I was the one to destroy someone else’s name – because I thought her name was Miriam.

I do not understand people who camp out for Black Friday, especially those who set up tents and take vacation days from work in order to do so. Especially in the age of technology, where better deals are often found on the internet rather than in the stores, those who feel the need to be part of the Black Friday frenzy need a reality check. And anyone who made a point of attacking their local Apple store in the hopes of getting some incredible deal on an ipad mini were surely disappointed. Remember Apple’s hidden motto: It is your privilege to own our products. Enjoy.

I had not planned on going to the Apple store over the holiday weekend. When my ipad ceased cooperating, however, and since I depend on it for work, I made an appointment and headed in to the store. Suffice it to say I was confident the store would work like a well-oiled machine, even on such a hectic shopping day, and I was right. Wearing their red fleeces, Apple employees blanketed the floor, providing prompt and gracious service to anyone who headed their way.

The store was run so well, as a matter of fact, that there was an express lane for ipod/ipad purchases. I kid you not. On the one hand, you can appreciate the efficiency with which the store operated. On the other hand, it is a sick commentary on society if ipads are flying off the shelves with such speed that an express shopping lane is required, but I digress…

Of course, the irony is that I found myself on that very lane after being told that my ipad needed to be replaced. The damage was irreparable and there were no other immediate options. Standing on line, I noticed the names of the Apple employees who were manning the lane, including one which caught my eye. Almost instantaneously, I was about to do something I love – develop a kinship with a total stranger. At least, that’s what I thought.

“My name is ‘Miriam’, too” I said to the Apple representative with a smile, ready to have a bonding moment with another person who has the same name. “Doesn’t it make you crazy when people mispronounce your it?”

“My name is MIRAM,” she said. “And yes: it makes me crazy when people mispronounce my name.”

Stunned by what I had just heard, I stood there a moment before being able to speak. “I’m sorry – what??” Then I reread her ID tag only to realize that her name was spelled with one ‘i’ and not two.

“My name is Miram,” she explained. “But don’t worry – people call me Miriam all the time, and I answer to it.” That made me laugh, and we both began to relax.

She asked me where I was from and I said Long Island. She smiled. “I mean BEFORE that,” she said and then I understood. “We’re from Israel,” I explained. “I’m from Egypt,” she said, “but around here, no one gets my name right.”

We continued chatting for a few more minutes, but then it was time to go. I had finished paying for my item and frankly: how long can someone really talk about her name? But before I walked away, I brought the conversation back to one of my favorite topics: what I refer to as my ‘Starbuck’s Name.’

“You know that when I’m at Starbucks,” I said, “I tell them my name is ‘Mary’ because I am so sick of them mispronouncing my name.” She laughed. “That’s funny,” she said, “because I tell them my name is Miriam.”

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