Tuesday, January 17, 2006

dopplegangers

Remember when I said there was something else awful that happened to me yesterday, something so dark and terrifying that I couldn’t bring myself to speak of it even 24 hours later? Well, I think I’m ready to talk about it now, but I hope you’ll pardon me if I need to stop and scream into my pillow a couple of times.

The thing that happened, okay, was that during Monday's two-hour department meeting, I was introduced to a potential new salesperson in our department. This is bad for two reasons. In the first place, it means more work for me, which, whatever, like I do any work at all anymore anyway. In the second place -- and this is the thing, the awful thing -- her name is the same as mine. I have a major complex about this. You see, from the time I started school at the age of 4, until about the time I turned 14, I had to be referred to by my first name and last initial since there was always, always, always at least one other girl with my name in my class and in my group of friends. And because I was super-shy, and the others weren’t, whenever someone used my name, it was a safe assumption that it wasn’t me they were talking to. I was dispossessed of my own name. It was degrading, humiliating, enervating. Of course, all of this is in retrospect (and there's some hyperbole involved); at the time I just knew it was annoying. It's only now as I'm considering the possibility of once again sharing my name with someone else on a daily basis that I'm realizing how much I hated it before.

Anyway, this phase of my life ended when I moved to a benighted backwater town where everyone was named “Billy Bob” or “Sue Bob” or “Billie Jean” or whatever the hell. To be honest I wasn’t really paying attention to anything much except hating the place. The name thing was the only silver lining about the move, and it was the one thing I had to hold onto during my high school years: I no longer had to qualify my name. It was incredible, it was magical, it was thrilling. What was it like exactly? Oh, it was like the first time after moving into your own apartment that you realize you can leave the bathroom door open when you’re peeing. Freeing, empowering, vaguely transgressive. Fucking awesome in other words.

And then after high school, I went to college (briefly), and from there into the sexy-sexy world of insurance, and up to this point I've been the only me I know. Now, just when I'd almost forgotten how bad it feels to share your name, I'm in danger of having to do it again. (Weirdly enough, my boss did actually try to hire another woman with my name a couple of years ago, but it never got that far, much to my relief.) Granted, I already hate this job and have a firm plan either to leave within the next year or kill myself, but I just don’t know if I’ll be able to stand it any longer if they hire this woman.

By the way? I realize I'm taking this harder than most people would. But if you think I’m being unreasonable about this, well, kindly bugger off and leave me alone with my neuroses.



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