July 10, 2011
Life as a Robbie Part II
I was adamant about owning myself as a Robbie in high school. I cringed on the first day of classes when the teacher would have Robert on the class list. I corrected them to my preference quickly and awkwardly, hoping no one in my school would ever learn my common birth name. I was even able to convince many that Robbie was my birth name, including the Colorado DMV. I don't know how I got away with having an alias on my driver's license for years, but it was surprisingly easy. Thankfully my next move was to Montana where the DMV shares a parking lot with the local Wendy's. Coming down off a Frosty buzz, the woman gave me no trouble changing my name to something legal on my ID.
As a child, I imagined someone would force me to go by Rob or Robert at a certain age. As an adult, I'm thankful this person doesn't exist. But as an adult a new set of challenges comes with a name. I have to meet far more people than I did as a kid and I have to identify myself to anyone who doesn't know me already. While a fake name works at dive bars and the Colorado DMV, I typically have identify myself as Robbie.
Robbie is a pretty simple name to understand in my mind, but I've probably heard it more often than people who don't share my name. Those two syllables do challenge some people. And I bet Ryans don't face these challenges.
When I introduce myself, too many people respond with "Robin?" or "Ronnie?" No. One time I checked into a hair salon and the woman starting asking for "Rock" a few minutes later. Also not me.
Starbucks is a great place for confusion, and asking for a first name on the cup adds to it. My favorite Starbucks experience as a Robbie:
Starbucks: "What's the name on this drink?"
She wrote my name on the cup. I gave her my credit card. She looked at it (which was the first and last time this happened). She gazed back at me.
Starbucks: "Your credit card says, 'Robert.'"
I gave her a blanker stare than her own.
Starbucks: "But you said your name is Robbie."
My stare grew blanker. Keep in mind I was also hungover.
Starbucks: "But the name on your credit card is Robert."
Without any proper words to tell the lady, I just lowered my gaze slightly and didn't blink until she swiped my card.
Five minutes later, my drink was ready.
"Grande mocha for Robin."
Posted by Robbie Ice at 6:33 PM