Don't try to Guess, Just ask
I started to write about something else, but my attention was diverted when I looked at my mail. Once again, some rocket scientist has decided to christian me with a name different form the one my parents gave me. Lately, my name has been taking the knife. Being butchered left and right. In the past I would take time to correct them, but now it's a constant barrage of a variety misspellings and mispronunciation that I have tuned out totally. And what the heck am I supposed to say when some one says 'Oh that's unusual'. The one the gets me infuriated, especially over the phone at work is when I get an 'Oh that's interesting' or 'That's an odd name'. As OMG people, learn how not to be so tongue-in-cheek. Am I supposed to say 'Thank you' after you've just made me feel like I just won a spot at 'Mr. Ripley's Believe it or Not' Museum in between the Indian man with the longest nails and the goat with two heads. Since I am so used to getting complimented about my name, not insulted, I always end up saying 'Thank you' and then rolling my eyes at the realization that I have yet again been insulted. Chuckling in sarcasm I garner grace to move on the issue at hand or just say 'yeeeeah', in the most uninterested and uncertain manner. To those smart enough to read between the lines, that's PC for 'Whatever Loser.'
Then there are the letters in the mail. Obviously, to get something in the mail you must have either spelt, written or typed your name and address for someone on a form or something. So how is it that my name is/names are always misspelled on every darn item, even the ones that I meticulously wrote in my best handwriting. The kind of handwriting that I employed in recopying my Integrated Science and Biology notes back in my ISL days during the summer breaks. That was usually the height of my excitement aside from trying to do Evil-Knievel stunts down the hills at the Old Alvan Ikoku College (now TESAC) in Orlu. My diagram of the heart was definitely a heart-stopper, so were my diagrams of the reproductive organs the brain and the nervous system. As in my classmates were lining up to borrow my notes or giving me their note books to draw for them in exchange for cake woman's N3 cream cake or N2 'donut' from the kiosk. I remember giving my notebook to somebody only to get it back with palm-oil and stew stains on it. Can you imagine, boy was I livid. Anyways that's the long and short of my best handwriting story. My sister even still kept some of my note books and used it during her SSCE exams, 5 years after I graduated. Digression.
As I was saying, about my name being butchered. In North Carolina, It was never this bad. AT least people will try or apologize before trying. Not so in California. They've totally renamed me.
The most hilarious of all was the police PIO. He made me Japanese by calling me 'Hatouri' and even replying my email with that as a salutation. Too funny. He apologised about it though and I guess he told one of his other colleagues how he bastardized my name because the next day he'd joked about it. Then there are people who want to call me Andrea(English and Spanish forms), Audrey, Adore, Aduare Adair, Adria. Then there are those Nigerians who insist on telling me 'how to really say' my name or even spell it. As if my parents who gave me the name and say it the way I say it are idiots. Hello!! The 'a' in the middle is silent, it is next to a dominant vowel and in Igbo language that's the rule. And just because that 'a' is silent does not mean it should disappear altogether. Therefore it is not 'Adure' or even 'Adire', or 'Adura' for the ones that try to be funny. They know themselves.
My name is such a beautiful name with such a beautiful meaning (first daughter of pride or bringer of pride) that it is very upsetting to see it butchered. There was a time when I hated my name so much that I gave myself a new name, Alexandra, Alex or Ally for short. Blame the Sweet Valleys and Mills and Boon. To make matters worse some guy called Zubi Enebeli decided to revive Rex Lawson's 'Love Adure', a song that I thought was long forgotten. A song that my uncles, cousins and siblings tortured me with. You know, there's nothing more annoying to a child than for someone to mock you in a song using your name. Ironically, four of us kids had some igbo highlife songs with our names so when one person starts singing with your name, you start singing with his or her name. For example, the theme song for Zebrudaya's New Masquerade on NTA is called 'Eddie Quansa Bio Bio' but it sounds like 'Eji Bonse' and my brother's name is Ejike/Eji, hense that was the song forhim. Then there's another highlife song by Joe Nez called 'Oh Nnenne O' and my little sister's name is Nnenne. So you can imagine, on days when we are all fighting, and there were many, it is a concert. So basically this razz Zubi Enebeli decided to release this song and I was so upset. As in could he not have waited till I graduated from high school. You can imagine what I was greeted with the next day I got to school. Yes, the whole class, singing 'Adoooray, Adooray, dooray'. Argh!!! From that day someone decided to nickname me 'Love Adaure' and it's stuck ever since. That song is now one of my favorites, more like my theme song, so I guess I have reclaimed the dignity. LOL.
Anyways I have decided that if I cannot win the battle I must join, so if the name is that hard to pronounce or spell, biko don't bite your tongue. Just ask me and I will tell you. I will even school you on the history and heritage of the culture and the reason why I am named so. The grammatical construction of the prefix and suffix, the assonance and alliteration, etc etc comma comma fullstop and so on and so forth. In fact you can even decide to call me by a few nick names, like Ada, Adoo, Addy or even Triple-A. In fact don't even bother with all that, just call me 'Ah'.