Every time I walk into a Starbucks, I always have a "Bless Your Heart" just in case the barista asks for a name to go with my order. I was hoping I wouldn't have to go through the name dance today because there was no one else in line, but after I ordered my Iced Dirty Skinny Oprah (my summer Chai Tea drink of choice, mostly because I get to say those words in that order) she asked my name. And so, the barista at the Starbucks on Columbus gets this week's:
Bless Your Heart
See in The South, “double names” are not strange, nor do they discriminate based on gender. Both little boys and little girls alike run around in smocked jumpers embroidered with their double name in either monogram form or spelled out in a cute font. Some people even assume double names exist when they don’t. My mother’s name is Mary… just Mary… but in college everyone called her by her first and last name: “Mary Donnelly”. She jokes all the time about how she isn’t quite sure how it started, probably because there were several Mary’s in the Chi Omega house at Ole Miss, but somehow it has stayed with her. To this day people from her college days call her “Mary Donnelly” as if it’s a double name. She corrected one of them once saying, “You know Donnelly is actually my maiden name… I’m just Mary”. They were shocked. All things considered, my “double name” is actually pretty tame in comparison to others I have encountered, which is probably why I’ve been proud to carry it with me all the way to NYC. It’s a family name, a connection to my southern roots, and I love it.
But as normal as these names are considered in The South, growing up in LA they were inconceivable. People had so much trouble grasping the whole “double name” thing. Being the precocious little girl that I was I actually adopted a bit to help them. Whenever someone would ask my name I would respond, “My name is Mary Lane. M-A-R-Y SPACE L-A-N-E. Two words, no hyphen.” I think my parents knew pretty early on that I had been born with a flair for the dramatic. But even with the bit, people still struggled with it. Was “Lane” my middle name? If so why did I use it? The confusion continued when I moved to New York to attend NYU. Each year the first day a new teacher sparked conversation about whether I actually wanted to be addressed by both names in class or if it was just a “stage name”. They just couldn’t wrap their mind around it.
So at the end of the day, if the professors at a university I was forking over OBSCENE amounts of money to attend couldn't be counted on to grasp my double name situation, I can hardly expect Starbucks baristas to grasp it. Recently I’ve started using just “Mary” to make it easier, but as you can see in the photo even that’s hard to understand, I guess. Apparently people don’t meet many Mary’s anymore.
So I guess today, you can just call me Marie.
With Grace and Good Humor,