When I first told Dawson I was moving to Australia, he kept calling me ‘Beck’.
He’d say ‘G’day Beck’ any time I rang him and despite my protests and distaste for my name being shorted to Beck (it’s Bex, duh), I figured he was simply misinformed and once I told Australian people my name, they wouldn’t be so rude as to immediately bastardise it.
I was wrong about that one.
It drove me wild for months being called ‘Beck’ and I kept insisting to everyone, to call me Bex – something about ‘Beck’ just grating on me. It annoyed me in places I didn’t know you could be annoyed and there was an internal shudder every time I was addressed.
I got used to it, of course.
Those that mattered call me Bex and I could get around being called Beck, because it’s a sign of endearment if an Aussie is shortening your name.
I no longer frowned at the sound of my name.
And then I moved to New Zealand.
Now the kiwis grasp on vowels is rather lose to say the least.
They include all of them in the correct order (more or less) in their written speech, but they seem to be there more as a formality than anything.
Since I arrived, I have been called ‘Bicky’.
I still haven’t managed to pinpoint why, but to me, everything about that is wrong and my shudder is external when someone says my name.
I keep trying to tell people to call me ‘Bex’, in the vain hope it’ll sound closer to something I’ll respond to, but still ‘Bick’ or ‘Bicky’ keeps happening.
I AM NOT SWEET OR COVERED IN CHOCOLATE.
I (PROBABLY) CAN’T BE A NAUGHTY LITTLE TREAT AND I MOST CERTAINLY DON’T WANT TO BE DUNKED IN YOUR HOT BEVERAGES.
It’s involuntary to repeat my name with an exaggerated ‘e’ sound when I’m addressed.
Mostly it gets a few giggles and we get a few more miles out of the ‘you have no vowels here, we invented English’ jokes.
Then this afternoon, this happened.
It was bad enough I had to repeat my name several times to the guy serving me.
When a near identical order for ‘Sophie’ was ready and no one stepped forward to collect it, I wondered if the guy had just taken a punt at a girls’ name and tried to ask someone if there was an order for ‘Bex, as in short for Rebecca‘ in the queue.
The second guy confirmed, while a girl shouted a name with an ‘x’ sound on the end and handed me my caramel slice.
10 minutes pass and I’m still waiting for my coffee.
I wander over again to ask if it’s ready and get given some serious side eye from the guy who served me, before the barista making drinks interrogated me at a caffeinated speed about my order.
Finally an iced mocha was thrust in my direction, and when I checked the moniker, I realised the confusion lay in the fact THAT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO MY NAME.
OF COURSE I WASN’T GOING TO ANSWER TO MAX.
I realise there are countless conspiracy theories about this being a deliberate marketing ploy by Starbucks, but the simple fact remains that basic communication, at times is impossible when I’m hearing completely different words, with entirely different syntaxes, all because Kiwi’s are allergic to vowels.
I’ll add it to the list.
New Zealand, sort your shit out.