Thursday, November 8, 2012

Maiden Mishap

This is the first blog post in November that I am actually writing in November. Both of the previous two were written and scheduled ahead of time, one specifically because of NaNoWriMo, one because of political overload.

NaNo is going fairly well. I am far ahead of where I need to be to finish on time. I am ahead (but not far ahead) of where I need to be to beat my last year's word count. And I am only oh-so-slightly ahead of where I need to be to hit 50K by Thanksgiving, which I have done every past NaNo thus far. It's just nice to be able to breathe over that weekend, knowing that I don't have to worry about anything other than my own personal goals.

As for the story itself, well . . . it leaves a lot to be desired. I picked an idea that I didn't care much about, because in the past, "not caring" has allowed me to take some huge leaps and really have fun with an idea. This time around, though . . . the words are coming, I've never really had a problem with that . . . but I feel like they don't really mean anything. It's still early, though; there may be hope for my story yet.

Also in exciting news is that we upgraded our dinky LG Optimus phones (which are good starter smart phones, don't get me wrong, but we outgrew them within about a year, and this whole past year has been spent waiting desperately for our upgrade discounts to kick in) with Samsung Galaxy S3's. Huge, HUGE upgrade! Honestly the S2's would have been a huge upgrade, which we were debating on, but in the end we decided that we may as well make the leap, with the intention of NEVER UPGRADING AGAIN! (Okay, we'll probably upgrade eventually . . . but I am stubbornly clinging to my belief that they will last us a good 10 years. I mean, come on, how long did we hold out against the rise in technology before we actually got smart phones?)

Anyway, we decided to go for it, for various reasons, but one of the concessions is that these are our Christmas gifts. (What? I get a new phone AND I have one less person to worry about shopping for? Win-win!)

(I'm very parenthetical today, apparently.)

Anyway, those are just a couple minor updates. I really wanted to write this to share a funny story that happened to me while voting. No, don't run away! This has nothing to do with voting itself, or with politics. It has more to do with me having a major brain fart and being afraid they'd say, "Wow, you are too dumb to vote, you should just go now."

So, I walk into the polling place, all nervous because I've never done this before. I am perfectly confident in all of my selections (not in a "my candidate is awesome, all other candidates suck" way, just in a "done my research, and while I'm nowhere near an expert, I feel confident that I'm using my vote in the way that most represents what I believe" way), but I'm always nervous when trying a new thing for the first time, especially if that thing involves people I don't know -- it usually does -- and the potential to make an idiot out of myself -- I usually do . . . and Tuesday was no exception.

There were three lines. I don't remember all of the exact letter cutoffs, but let's call them A-J, K-R, and S-Z. My last name begins with an S. My maiden name begins with a P.

I think you can see where this is going . . .

In my defense, K-R was the sign staring me in the face when I walked in the door. There was one person checking in in the first line, and what I thought was someone checking in in the third line (but actually was just another volunteer chatting with the volunteer sitting for that line, and if that woman hadn't been standing there and I would have seen BOTH signs side-by-side then maybe this wouldn't have happened, I guess we'll never know). So I'm thinking, "Well that's convenient, there's no line for K-R, sweet!" And I walk right up to the woman, and she says, "Name?" and suddenly I froze, and realized what I'd done.

So I laugh like a moron and was like, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was thinking of my maiden name," and that's when I realize that the woman I thought was in line for S-Z really wasn't, so I just sort of slid over to the appropriate table and everything went on and was fine. But for a split second there, I was not only embarrassed for making a stupid mistake, but petrified that they were going to think I was trying to commit voter fraud and forgot the name of the person I was impersonating, or something. But no, it was fine.

(Also a quick side note: I was very surprised that they didn't ask for any ID. I guess that's not a requirement everywhere, but seems like it would be very easy to cheat the system, especially if you knew for a fact that someone who was registered was not going to vote. Not that I'm plotting or anything, just observing.)

So, I hoped that these nice old ladies thought that maybe I had JUST gotten married and was still getting used to my new name. But then I realized that I wasn't wearing my ring (it's loose on me after all the weight I lost last year, but I'm holding off on resizing it for now) and how many newlyweds do you know who don't wear a wedding ring? So my next thought was, maybe they'll think I just got DIVORCED, and am going back to my maiden name, but haven't legally changed it yet.

But it just got me thinking . . . how could I make such a colossal mistake after 5 1/2 years? Like I said, if the other woman wasn't blocking the sign, and I had seen K-R and S-Z, maybe I would have been fine. But all I saw was K-R and just immediately thought of that as "my line" without thinking twice about it.

There's another explanation, though, that I think is more likely, or at least a major contributor. I haven't had to get in a line based on my last name since before I was married. Back in school it used to happen all the time. Definitely high school registration was grouped each year by last name, if not other things throughout the year as well. I can picture doing it in college too, for something or other. But this is the first time I've had to do it out here in the real world. And some things, even though you're totally used to the fact that your name isn't what it once was, just don't really click until you actually have to apply it to a new situation.

For example, I spent a lot of time before we even got married practicing my last name. No, I don't mean back in high school, filling notebooks with my name paired with his with little hearts all around them. I mean that, about a month before we got married, I started practicing my new signature, so that when I had to actually start using it, it would be consistent right off the bat. (It went a lot smoother once I rejected using the cursive S.)

So that, I was totally prepared for. What I was not prepared for, even though I knew it intellectually, was for my initials to change. I was working at a dentist office at the time, and I had to initial TONS of stuff, all day long. And it still took me a long time until it felt natural to write CS instead of CP.

And that's what I'm blaming this on. I know very well what my last name is, and that it starts with an S. But not having had to apply that knowledge to this particular situation, it threw me for a loop. Luckily the nice old ladies didn't tell me I was too dumb to vote. (Although the fact that it's illegal might have been the only thing holding them back.)

1 comment:

  1. I guess I never told you about the time I signed my maiden name on a check. It was more than 5 yrs. after being married! Also, after having worked the polls, your faux pas is not one that any of us "old ladies" will even remember. I could write a book, about the goofy things that I have seen while working the polls.
    The best one this year is the lady that spoiled her ballot not once, but twice, and was confused as to why the ballot was rejected. She voted for not 1, not 2, but 3 people for President of the United States! Charleen, thank you for your educated vote!