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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life of the Party

Lauren is asleep in her party dress as I type this. Her Daddy put her to bed wearing it, along with her matching panties over her onesie, and her matching socks because she was so peacefully sleeping he didn't want to disturb her. The hat did come off though. She's tuckered out! (I don't even want to know if her diaper has been changed, let's tell ourselves it has.)

Tonight all 3 of us went to L. & R.'s rehearsal dinner. We have discovered the secret to a happy Lauren is keeping her well fed. However, it's not politically correct nor polite to whip out a breast at the dinner table, so I pumped beforehand and Ryan gave her her bottle (the 3rd bottle of her life). This worked out well and she sat there, full and happy, watching everyone else eat their solid food. After dinner, we played a bit of pass the baby, and at the end of the evening, people expressed regret about not getting a chance to hold her. On the way out of the restaurant, perfect strangers stopped us and wanted to see her face (her hat was covering it) and ask us about her and said how cute she was and what pretty little lips she has.

On the way home, Ryan and I were talking about two related phenomena in casual relationships. One situation, which I encountered today, is when you see someone whose face you recognize, but you can't quite place how you know them. Certain bits of knowledge about the person are even gleaned, such as you might remember that this person is generally in a pleasant mood, or that you had some past minor conflict with them. The majority of the time, I find that I know these people because they work in a store or business that I frequent, and their presence in that place is familiar to that place only. Taken out of their native habitat, I can't relate them to their new surroundings. The dissonance is troubling and the fear is that they know exactly who I am and that I SHOULD know who they are, and they will assume I do, creating an embarassing moment when I either pretend to meet them for the first time or admit to having forgotten not only their name, but their whole story.

The other situation this reminded us of is the "I know you too well to ask your name" scenario. Examples of this include neighbors you've met while walking the dog, and you know each other's dog's names and have had long chats about vets, training, etc. but at this point, it's too late to do the "by the way, my name is __
thing. Also storekeepers at places where you regulary shop who you become friendly with because you're there all the time. You only know their name if they wear a nametag, and they only know yours from your credit card but you start chatting about things each time you go in, and become buddies. However, if you have an unusual name like mine and they only see your name written, they are too embarassed to try to pronounce it. If they CAN pronounce it, you will know right away because they will read your name out loud from the credit card and immediately tell you a story about someone they once knew with your same name, and ask if you, too, are Swedish, or if you, too, have ____ as a nickname, etc.

Normally, there are 2 ways to help with these introductions. If Ryan doesn't know the person, I can whisper to him that I've forgotten her name, in which case he can stick out his hand and say "Hi, I'm Ryan" and he'll get the other person to reveal her identity. If we want, say, the neighbor with the dog to learn our names, we can talk about each other in front of him, by name. So I could say, "Oh, Ryan took Jake to the vet last time, didn't you, hon?" and the neighbor will catch on. The problem is with a name like mine, people often meet me, and then I think their brain processes the introduction as "this is Ryan, and his wife with that name I've never heard of before." Then they either tell themselves "sounds kind of like Bridget" and then call me Bridget next time they meet me, or they just give up entirely and never try to say my name.

With naming our daughter Lauren, we've at least spared her those kinds of problems. I'm sure some people will spell it Lauryn or Loren or will call her Laura or Lorie by mistake, but she can live with that. ;)

1 comment:

digital janitor said...

"However, it's not politically correct nor polite to whip out a breast at the dinner table..."

I think it's about time we worked to change this attitude. More breasts at the dinner table, I say!