Friday, July 16, 2010

In Which I Mix Things Up

Have you ever been talking with someone that you aren't threatened by, and all of a sudden, while mid-conversation, you start referring to that person with a name that isn't theirs?

Oh, man. I don't know how I do this, but I do it a lot

I have two landlords for the apartment I lived in for the past year. They are husband and wife with different enough names where there shouldn't be any reason for the confusion. For the past year that we've lived here, it's always been the husband who calls us whenever there was a need to or when they were returning our call. And every single time (and I do mean every time), I refer to him at least once by his wife's name.

For example, take the conversation I had with him just this week:

*Phone Rings*


"Hey, Mike, it's Vince the landlord."

"Oh, hey, Vince! What's up?" I silently congratulate myself for getting his name right.

"I was just calling to see when would be a good time to fix that broken screen in your window. I have some time this afternoon and wanted to get that taken care of."

"Sure, no problem," I said. "This afternoon would be fine. Neither my wife or I will be home, so just let yourself in."

"Okay, that's what I thought. Just wanted to make sure it'd be okay."

"Oh, of course. Thanks for doing that for us, Pat, I appreciate it."

A heavy pause. 

Fuck, I thought to myself. I did it again!

"No problem, Mike. That's all I wanted, so I'll let you go."

Don't call him by his wife's name. It's not Pat, it's Vince. Vince. VIIIINCE. "Sure thing!"

"Alright, talk with you later!"

"Okay, goodbye, Pat!"


This, coming from a guy who talks on the phone for a living. 

I probably continue referring to him by the wrong name because I'm so fixated on it. It's hard to get out of my own way sometimes, but luckily such episodes of misspeaking are generally forgivable. Even if he got his feelings hurt, he could get back at me by calling me my wife's name. Fair is fair.

What was the oddest thing you've said or done this week?

Have a good weekend, everyone.


Deidra said...

The oddest thing I've said? I was talking on the phone with my boyfriend and laying in my car so as not to disturb the others in the apartment I was staying the night in. I happened to mention that I was in my car, and he asked how long I had been driving.

"Well, Dad always took me to school since he teaches there, so I didn't have any reason to rush since he's still take me anyway to save gas. Then I found out that if you wait until you turn 18 after your permit, you can go straight to your license and not worry about the intermediate one. So I did that."

"Umm...I meant like right now."

He thought I was driving as I was talking to him, and wanted to know how long I'd been at it.

Yeah...only felt mildly stupid after that. [/sarcasm]

Mystern said...

Oh man, I'm the worst with names. At work I typically have a name on the screen for the account, which is useful, but only accurate 2/3 of the time. The other amount, I simply boldly call the person by the name on the screen, completely oblivious that they had told me a different name.

Ms Amanda said...

While watching tv with my daughters I said, "Man that's some seriously good waterproof vacuum that she's wearing!"
They both just looked at me like I was crazy... I said, "I have no idea what I just said, bit I'm guessing it wasn't mascara." At which they laughed riotously and explain my mistake.

HonestFairway said...

Well at school I had these two teachers who used to be best friends, but had a huge falling out and now refused to acknowledge each other. And for some unknown reason, I would always call one by the others name. I'm surprised both of them didn't fail me!

TechnoBabe said...

When I was attending church, long ago it seems like now, I invited the pastor and his wife and a few friends for dinner. When introducing the pastor and his wife, I kept introducing his wife by the wrong name, I kept saying the name of a woman deacon. I hadn't been going there very long but still, the pastor asked why I was doing that. I had no answer.

Didactic Pirate said...

There isn't enough Internet bandwidth for me to describe all the times I've done stuff like this. It's gotten to the point where I just don't refer to anyone by their actual name anymore when I'm at social events. "Hey there... Bud! Have you met... Dude, over here?"

Danielle Nicki said...

I'm terrible at names and, like you, I fixate on it so much that I continue to make mistakes at it. I've called my children by different names and coworkers but, thankfully, my husband is always referred to correctly. I think that's because subconsciously I know he'd never forgive me if another man's name was used!

SFDaddy - Bryan said...

We call our kids Red 1 and Red 2. It makes things easier. I called my wife mom on the phone the other day. That was bad.

Writer Ninja said...

I am the master of screwing up names, so I am with you on that one! The worst blunder I make on the phone comes whenever I have to leave a message on an answering machine. It comes out like this:

“Hello it’s [insert the name of the person I’m calling] speaking, please call [insert my name] back!”

Yes, it’s embarrassing to have an identity crisis mid-message. It’s also really horrid that people can play that back and cackle at my incompetence.

Another thing I say is, “Do you know where you are?” instead of asking, “Where are you?” I get o lot of people laughing and then they say, “Well, I hope I know where I am.”

Ah well…at least I get a slight kick out of it when it’s all over. My entire phone calling dignity is gone, anyway.
P.S. I’m kinda new here, but I want to say that I stumbled across your blog this summer and I am thoroughly enjoying it! I left a comment for the post “In Which I Try to Fit In,” some time ago. I wish you the best of luck with your memoir!

Badass Geek said...

Deidra: Ah, yes. I've done that before. A common misinterpretation.

Mystern: Yeah, that happens.

Ms Amanda: A waterproof vacuum would be kinda cool.

HonestFairway: You got lucky with that one.

TechnoBabe: Oops.

Didactic Pirate: I do that, too. Perhaps a bit too much.

Danielle Nicki: That wouldn't be easily forgiven.

SFDaddy - Bryan: Yikes.

Writer Ninja: Glad you're enjoying things here. I appreciate the kind words!

Tamarni Honey said...

I don't know why (and this is a very recent thing), but I've started referring to people - when their name is on the tip of my tongue and I just can't stop talking long enough to get to it - as Steve.
I'm really sorry to everyone.

Jenn(ifer) said...

HaHa!! I'm betting this is because "pat" is the universal unisex name. Love it!

onecrazyasiangirl said...

hahaha! I think we've all been there.

It helps to use just say, "hey man, how it going?" don't actually use the name. lol

carissajaded said...

I've been saying odd things a lot on the phone at work. I'll be reading one thing and talking to a client at the same time, and blurt out my response to what I'm reading. "COLLIN HANKS!!!" is not a normal thing to explain during a phone call with plumbers.

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Kirly said...

the strangest thing i ever said was....

I'm a woman. And an engineer. Thus, I work with alot of men. And I talk more than all of them... put together. Thursdays were always pizza and wings days. Any number of us from 1-2 women and 4-10 men. One Thursday, I was a bit late arriving just after the food had arrived. I apparently had big news that day and sat down and just started chattering. When I finally shut up and took a bite of food, I heard ... nothing! For the longest time. I finally said, "Is it always this quiet when I'm not talking?"


That made "The Quote Board".

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