Okay, with a name like Phoebe, I’m used to getting my name misheard, misread, and mispronounced. Saying my name over the phone is the worst – “Bebe? Stevie?”. If my name is spelled right on the Starbuck’s cup, there’s a one in ten chance that the barista will yell out “I have a tall latte for Fobe.”
I expect it. I brace for it. I sigh every time I have to give my name over the phone. “No, Phoebe, you know, like on “Friends”?”
“OH! PHOEBE! Do you sing Smelly Cat?”
“That’s not the point of the phone ca- actually, I could.”
One time, a guy called looking for “Foe-bee”. I said my name was pronounced Fee-bee – and he said “Oh! They have your name spelled wrong here.”
“Oh really? How is it spelled?”
*sigh* “No. That’s the correct spelling. You’re just mispronouncing it.”
But there was one time in my life where the mispronunciation of my name crossed over to the absurd.
Imagine it, Sicily, 1918 – wait, wrong sitcom reference…
So when one of my kids was on a local soccer team, I was meeting other moms. Kim, Michelle, Jennifer – you know, other moms with regular names. Then there was one, who must have been very proud of usually being the one with the “different” name. Whose name had two legit pronunciations.
We’ll call her Anna.
I was introduced to Anna, and called her Anna, only to be corrected for using the A-like-ant sound.
“It’s AH-nnah, like Anna in “Frozen”. AH-nnah. Not Ann-a. AH-nnah.”
This wouldn’t have been bad, except the entire time she corrected me, she kept calling me “Foe-bee”.
“Now Foe-bee, people are always saying my name wrong. It’s AH-nnah Foe-bee, not Ann-a. Do you understand Foe-bee? AH-nnah.”
At one point, one of the moms I knew tried to correct AH-nnah. “Yeah FEE-BEE, It’s AH-nnah, not Annn-a.”
AH-nnah didn’t get it.
AH-nnah continued to call me Foe-bee for two more years. Always correcting me if I slipped and called her Ann-a. While sighing a little, as if it was such a burden to have to constantly correct people on her name’s pronunciation.
I won’t lie – it got a bit awkward. People tried correcting her but she’d always revert back to Foe-bee. We all sort of gave up trying to get her to say my name correctly. She was working too hard to make sure her own name was pronounced correctly to switch gears I guess. Who knows? But it only stopped when I moved.
I wonder if her job now is to teach Starbuck’s baristas how to write names on cups. Because it would all make sense.