Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Say it Again, Sam!

It must seem pretty hypocritical that a woman who is building a website to celebrate and facilitate sharing between people would be so reticent about sharing something as unobtrusive as her name. But I have to confess that one of my biggest pet peeves is the new coffee house strategy for making sure they give you the right drink. “Triple venti non-fat latte, coming right up… What’s your name?”

Who wants to know?

Frankly, I don’t want to give them my name. Is it because I have never really liked it? because it’s hard to spell? because mom warned about people offering me candy in exchange for my name? Let’s face it, maybe it’s only Norm who wants to go someplace “where everybody knows your name”. So I just lie and say my name is Sam.

But one day I got caught when I was ordering coffee with my husband in tow (his name happens to be Phil…something you might see on a bowling shirt or a mechanic’s pocket but apparently he has no problem sharing it with any old barista). When asked for my name, I automatically said “Sam” and Phil looked at me like I had two heads. Oops. Then I had to explain the whole charade to him (and the barista and all the eavesdroppers in line behind us). No one else seems to be bothered by the whole thing. Is it just me?

Names are funny. I remember the ongoing debate on baby names. Phil likes traditional. I like non-traditional. He won for the most part. And to this day I rue the fact that none of my kids’ names achieved the alliteration that I so adore (see achieved, alliteration, adore? ---Which is maybe why Sam sounds good to me…). My family makes much fun of the fact that I swoon over S names that are unusual and nature-ish. For example, I was really determined to name my first boy Slate. I’m also partial to Sky, Summer, and Savannah. The kids just roll their eyes at me, except for the ten year-old who loves helping me think up outrageous names beginning with S that we fantasize about using if we ever talk his dad into getting a dog.

So if you hear someone hollering “Serendipity… here Serendipity!” next time you’re jogging through the park, you’ll know it’s Sam, and that at least I won the dog negotiation.


  1. I don't like giving my name at Starbucks either. Some of the time it is because I don't want my 7th graders calling me by my first name when I bring my "teacher juice" into the classroom. Usually it is because they misspell my name. I thought I had this figured out by bringing in my personal blue traveler cup. I have to admit that I become a little irate when I give them my personal cup and they ask for my name. "You don't need my name," I respond a little too sharply. "It will be obvious that it is mine." "Oh yeah, you're right." The barrista says sheepishly. Then I feel a little bad since she is just doing her job. I deliberately avoid a certain Starbucks because the order taker wants to get to know all her customers. She comments on my jewelry and asks my name while she is taking my order. I give her my last name. She looks hurt. I explain the teacher thing. She looks comforted. I really prefer to be anonymous until I've had a chance to drink my coffee.

  2. I am with ya! Hate the name thing,,,,want to know why? My name?..........Holli I say! Then out comes my drink on the other end....Venti Nonfat Latte for Molly, for Polly, for Colleen, Pauline.....and the best so far...COLLIE!!! Like a DOG!!! So now I just say,,,,,Yo Mama!........I don't smile or anything.....just Yo Mama!....Venti Nonfat Latte for Yo Mama! Thank you says Yo Mama and walks away with eyes on her from every possible angle in the store! FUN! Jokes on you Starbuckie!