Today, for the first time in what seems like decades, I went to a coffee shop and used my real name. Now, I never use my real name, and there are many reasons for this. The main one is because nobody ever knows how to spell it. I’m not even talking about my full name – Siddharth – I’m talking my one-syllable, shortened version of my name. Sidd is not that hard to say or spell. Though yes, I do complicate it slightly by using two ‘Ds’ instead of one, it still cannot be that much of a deal.
Now, back to the coffee shop instance – usually when I say my real name, I get my coffee cups back with a number of different spellings. Here a few of my favourites:
“Mark” (I’m not even kidding)
Because of this, in recent years I have resorted to using a numerous number of fake names. This, I thought, would solve the problem easily (as lying always does). Then, I realized, that even when using generic names such as John, Tom or Fernando (It’s a conversation starter) there would still be corrections needed. My favourite occasion was when I took on the character of “Jasper” and the name “Jasmine” was called out against my order. My greatest worry in that case was that the girl taking the order looked at me and didn’t even flinch in taking that name.
So in knowing that it is not the complexity of the name itself that causes confusion, I must conclude that maybe it is the environment of the shop itself that restricts the barista from hearing my name correctly. The loud chatter of customers, the grind of the coffee machine, and the whistle of that milk-frother thingo – all factors contributing to the baristas lack of hearing. Worrying, though, considering that they are taking my coffee order in the same environment.
Now, I’m a fan of coffee shops. They bring in everyone from addicts needing their daily fix to couples on tentative first dates. But it’s amazing how well baristas get to know their customers, and I don’t mean just through general conversation. I feel as though you can tell a lot about a person from their coffee order – espresso shots for the no-nonsense business type, and caramel latte’s for the ones just going for the coffee-drinker image*. Of course, the longer the length of the order, the more serious the coffee connoisseur (or just the more annoying).
The reason I started writing all this in the first place was that today, when I used my real name to order my coffee, the barista actually spelt my name correctly. No, I did not spell it out for her, and no I had never been to her before. She just naturally spelt ‘Sidd’ with an ‘I’ and two ‘Ds’.
Who the hell does that? Seriously?
*(sorry NLH – RB, you’ll like that one)