Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's a funny story...

So a few weeks ago, I packed up my suitcase and headed south for a much-needed vacation. I drove out to San Leandro to volunteer, and then headed south on the 5 to Los Angeles. I arrived at my destination, but my host wasn't home, so I brought my suitcase into the apartment, and then sat out by the pool and read a magazine.

Shortly thereafter, said host's neighbors (who share the pool as their front yard) came home. After a round of introductions ("Phoeve, is it?" "No, actually it's 'Phoebe'") (no, I'm really not making that up), they said, "So, is there any chance you might have dropped a black shirt when you brought your stuff in?"

I was puzzled as to why my shirt would be on the front lawn, but when they went back and got it and brought it to me, it was, indeed, my black shirt.

When I unpacked that night, I realized that the bottom of my suitcase had been unzipped, which was how the black shirt had fallen out. "Well," I thought to myself, "Thank goodness they found that shirt! I certainly wouldn't want to lose anything!"

Fast forward to the next morning, when our heroine is once again sitting poolside. Enter (again) the neighbors.



"Nice morning"

"Sure is"

"Hey Phoebe, is there any chance that you might be missing a brown shoe?"


Yep. Probably am.

Indeed, when I went out to my car, there was my brown shoe, right near the rear wheel of my car, on the curb.

I shook my head at myself, and returned it to it's rightful place in my suitcase.

Fast forward to the night I return home to San Francisco after my much-needed vacation. I bring my (fully zipped) suitcase into my apartment, and begin to unpack. Only thing is, when I got to the bottom of the suitcase, there was only the one brown shoe.

Yup. Somewhere between my apartment, my car, and LA, my brown shoe made a getaway.

Oh yeah. And a bra.

The good news, however, is that both were originally purchased at Ross Dress for Less a few years back, and when I visited said store this past week, I found replacements for both.

The BEST part of the story, though, can only be appreciated visually. It appears that my original brown shoes have a first cousin, and that first cousin pair happens to be the pair I found at Ross in this most recent trip.

What are the chances?!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A rose by any other name...

Over the years, I have had many nicknames: Phoebs, Phoebster, Phoeb-O, Beefie, Beefstew, Beefster, Swissmiss, Dork, Punk... All nicknames bestowed upon me by people who love me and know me well.

However, thanks to the growth of a trend in recent years - coffee shops and take-out restaurants that require me to give my name before they can process my order - I have had some of the most memorable and unbelievable nicknames bestowed upon me.

Now, having a rather uncommon name, I'm used to people asking me how to spell it. I'm used to people not hearing it correctly over the phone ("Stevie?" "BB?" "CV?" (now have any of you seriously ever heard of someone named "CV"?)), because it's hard to hear, and they don't have the added bonus of being able to see my mouth as I pronounce it, ever so slowly and with as much diction as possible.

However, in this new consumer world where every barista and cashier is required to ask for my name along with my order, a whole new world of names has been born.

The first time this happened, I was getting take-out Japanese food. The man asked me for my name, and I gave it to him "Phoebe." "What is it?" he asked again. "Fee-Bee" I replied, this time a little more slowly, to be sure he got it.

He printed out my receipt and told me to wait for my meal. I looked down and there it was, still the best butchering of my name I have ever seen: Fiben (which, in case anyone is wondering, I like to pronounce "Fibben" even though it looks more like "Fye-ben"). That became a nickname of mine among the friends I was with that day, though it never caught on further than that.

And so it has continued: men and women, young and old, ESL and native English speakers - all uniting with one common goal: to come up with the most creative spelling/butchering of my name.

It works like this:

* I walk up to the counter and place my order.

* Employee asks for my name.

* I say my name clearly and smile.

* Employee types my name into computer or writes it on a cup.

* I wait for my order, and when it arrives, so does another creative spelling.

And so this blog begins with a shout-out to all the people in the food service industry who keep me smiling day-in and day-out without even knowing it.

Carry on, creative spellers who moonlight as baristas. You have no idea the joy you bring to my life.

Thank you.

Hall of Fame