Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Things that I've been called other than my name

Over the years I've had a lot of people not really understand my name. This usually only happens when people encounter my name for the first time. Whether they hear me or someone else say it, or if they see it written down. I always, without fail find these moments hilarious. I think you all know about my favorite time this happened ("Two Hands, huh?"), but here are some more classic "Zuhair" eff-ups.

There was my the history professor at UCR, Elizabeth Vanderven, who for two whole quarters called me Zaire (Zah-year), like you know? The country in Africa (now called the somewhat less catchy Democratic Republic of Congo). I probably could have corrected her, but dang dude, she was cute and I figured that I'd let her call me whatever she wanted.

The ethnic studies professor, Ralph Crowder, who simply glossed over my name and opted to skip the first part altogether and just call me Abdulla. He's the only person that I've ever known to call me by only my last name, consistently. I ran into him about a year ago, having first had class with him in 2001 and found out that he still calls me, simply, Abdulla.

I'm not even going to talk about what happened when that stupid Don't Mess With the Zohan movie came out.

At the Toyota dealership a few weeks ago one of the dudes from maintenance came up to me and asked me if I owned a Prius. I said yes and he told me my car was done and ready to be paid for. Usually they just call your name on the loud speaker but I had my headphones in and couldn't hear. Anyhow. I went up to the counter to pay for whatever it was they were fixing when the lady behind the counter said, in a Mexican accent, "Oh! It's your car! I was calling Zwa-hurr for like 10 minutes! Just me saying 'Zwa-hurr, Zwa-hurr, your car is ready.'" I told her I was wearing headphones and couldn't hear, but didn't mention that even if I could hear, I still would have had no idea that my car was ready.

There's a guy who does handiwork at the house that I work at. I've seen him probably once a week or at least twice a month since I started working here in August of last year. We don't talk much but we always do a little stop and chat. His name is Justin and he's addressed me by name many times. I went on tour for about 5 weeks starting at the end of March. When I returned back to the office the week after tour ended I saw him and said hello. He responded with, "Oh hey Zuha (Zoo-ha, as in Zoo-ha got you all in check!), how's it going?" He also ended the conversation with, "Good seeing you again, Zuha!" I guess 6 weeks of not seeing me makes you forget the last two letters of my name.

I can't remember exactly where this happened but I was at a somewhat loud party when one of my friends decided to introduce me to the lady he brought. She was very, very, clearly not interested in meeting me and wasn't really paying attention at all. So when I said, "Hi, I'm Zuhair, nice to meet you," she very bitchily responded with "What's a Zuhair?"

When I was a child, a little baby Zuhair if you will, all the other children used to call me Poohair. I believe though, that that was somewhat intentional.

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