The first time somebody called me Rachel, I was in the fourth grade. A classmate of mine kept poking my shoulder and saying, “Rachel? Rachel? Rachel?” He was being a typical little shit trying to get a rise out of me and it worked. After yelling at him that my name was Rebecca, I knocked his black and white composition book on the floor and kicked it as far away from him as I could without being seen by the teacher. He never called me Rachel again.
Over the years, being called Rachel by mistake has become so normal that I am not even surprised when it happens. I have even answered to it a couple of times in moments where I am not really paying attention to the asshat who is too self-absorbed to actually learn my name.
But why Rachel? When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a “Rachel.” To be fair, I just see me and if I were to choose another name for myself, Rachel wouldn’t be on that list. But for some reason, passing acquaintances, strangers that strike up a conversation on the train, and Starbucks Baristas in the Tri-State area, are all convinced I am a Rachel.
Just yesterday I walked into Starbucks and ordered a Grande Chai. The Barista asked me my name and I told her it was Rebecca. Before I could even finish saying my name she was already writing on the cup and sending me on my way. After a couple of minutes I hear, “Grande Chai for Rachel?” I ignored the Barista because hey, hi, hello, I am Rebecca.
She called it out two more times before I said, “Do you mean Rebecca?” She just looked at me and said, “Rachel/Rebecca, if you are waiting on a Grande Chai, it’s all the same.”
“Ummmmmm no. No it’s not the same. There’s even an extra syllable in my name.” Duh.
I can’t tell you how many times I have corrected people and almost every time I correct someone they have the nerve to look offended. Which makes zero sense!! I literally just introduced myself to you and you forgot my name, but I am wrong for correcting you? Bye Felecia.
And then there are the people who think my name is Jessica. It doesn’t happen as often as the Rachel offenders but it does happen. I had a coworker once introduce me to some higher-ups as Jessica. And in that situation it was too awkward to correct. Like how do I go about fixing your mistake in front of the big dogs? It makes you look misinformed and it makes me seem forgettable. So I just smiled and shook their hands and acted like the best Jessica I could be.
The best is the guy I ride the train with almost every day. We both get on and off at the same stop so we see each other frequently. He is a nice guy and we have made small talk on many occasions. After the first time I introduced myself to him, he successfully called me Rebecca for the first month or so. Then, one day we were walking through Union Station together to get to our train and he says, “Hey Jessica! How was your day?” And I kind of looked over my shoulder to indicate I had no idea who he was talking to. I pointed to my face and said, “Rebecca?” He recovered quickly and apologized. But he has called me Jessica ever since. Here’s the kicker: I carry a monogrammed shoulder bag that has the single letter “R” printed in large font right on the front. So yeah… Jessica with an R is very pleased to meet you.
So here I am folks… Just standing before you all proclaiming that my name is indeed, Rebecca. My face may tell you my name is Rachel or Jessica, but my face is lying to you. I apologize on behalf of my face for being a shitty trickster.
There is a Silver Lining in all of this: I have never been called the wrong name in bed. So there’s that. #Winning