WHAT'S IN A NAME
We are teetering on the brink of Halloween, up to our elbows in icings the color of candy corn. Rita observed today that the expiration date on certain cartons of dairy reads 12-24-15. Oh, that holiday. I can’t even think of gingerbread guys and dolls when there are miles of pie shells to roll between now and the Voldemort of bakery holidays, 11-26-15. We banter back and forth, analyzing a better way to orchestrate the production and pick-up of hundreds of holiday pies. Despite our best efforts, we are always swept up in a maelstrom of pie-dentification.
When an order is fetched by an individual other than the person who ordered it, you can almost guarantee drama will ensue. Case in point, last Friday. A petite woman with salt and pepper curls arrived at noon to pick up a pie. Barista at the front lines could not seem to locate the apple/raspberry/plum pie. Ms. Salt and Pepper claimed there was a pie with her name on it. (Having just baked it, the pie in question seemed all too familiar.) Abandoning my pyramid of apples, I hunted down the wayward order form. Yes, there was a pie, but the name she insisted upon was not the name we had affixed to that particular pie box. The name given to the Barista was different because she was picking up an order for someone else. In the end, the pie in question was for Twinkle; crisis averted.
Names are tricky and in the weeks leading up to a holiday, the best you can hope for is organized chaos. Every time I answer the phone at work and write down an order, I can’t quite hear what they are saying on the other end. Jotting down names and numbers, I repeat it all back, not once, but twice and even then the fear of writing down the wrong name haunts me. (Might I suggest this anxiety stems from years working for a man who required oversized index cards typed in Pica, not Elite, font with lists of pertinent names and numbers. An individual who insisted on tagging the letter “H” to the front of my name. Yes, although he could pen my name correctly, coupled with his distinctive accent, I was always addressed as “H-Ellen.” There was never an easy way to correct the King of Siam, so I didn’t.)
Yesterday, I uncharacteristically stepped away from the bench for a lunch break. Accompanying the Butter Meister to a launch celebrating the release of a new cookbook, we strolled down the block to our neighborhood independent bookseller. Our late arrival meant nametags had already been distributed, but our gracious host offered to secure two for us. Only one tag was serviceable. The second one was a mere border of its former self where once lived a ‘Hello My Name Is’ badge. I wore it anyway. Munching on triangles of pita and baba ganoush, I could feel people staring at my vacant nametag. Clearly they had no idea that in some circles my name is considered a classic.
That is what the Uber driver explained to me on Monday night as we sped towards Penn Station. “You know, “ Amir said dodging yellow cabs and breezing up 6th Avenue. “Your name, it is not a new name. It is old-fashioned. Classic. My grandmother, she has the same name as you.” I nodded, trying to avoid whiplash as my driver hit the brakes. “It is a good name, your name. Very old.” Gee, thanks, pal. “It is unusual that you have the same name because my grandmother, she is Egyptian.” How interesting I nodded, exiting the car at the corner of 33rd street amidst a sea of Rangers fans. I paused for just a moment, stepping onto the curb, thanking Amir for delivering me to NJ Transit in a timely fashion. He waved and smiled broadly, “You are most welcome, Helen.”
I wonder if it’s too late in the game to change my name to Twinkle.
10/23/2015 08:26:02 am
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Professional Pie-isms & Seasonal Sarcasm