Yesterday, I was reminded once again that Americans struggle to spell my name. The reminder came through that most universally relatable of physical objects: the Starbucks cup.
I'm not a coffee drinker (as regular readers of this blog can attest!), plus it was one billion degrees outside, but hey, someone suggested I get a hot chocolate at the Starbucks close to the office, and hey, that someone was cute. Sometimes I get all fluttery when cute someones cutely suggest activities for me to do, even when those activities are relatively mundane.
I could send that someone a picture, I thought excitedly, to PROVE that I did the thing that he suggested I should! It's a fine moment in life when you realize that your random trip to a coffee shop is actually some part of a plan of seduction, like this one was.
Anyway, I (wildly!) digress. So I got to Starbucks and I stood in line, and when I got up to the cashier, I ordered a small hot chocolate and paid the bill.
"Can I get your name?" she asked.
"Joëlle," I answered.
Now, I know it's an unusual name, particularly in the U.S. It has punctuation, for crying out loud. So I don't necessarily expect everybody to spell it exactly right every single time.
But I think a year in the UK has made me soft: say what you will about the Brits--they know how to spell my name.
And if there's one spelling I simply can't get behind, it's the one I get, oh, 90% of the time in the United States: Joel.
I saw her write it on the cup this way. I internally sighed, while externally thanking her with a bright smile and a, "you have a nice day TOO!"
A few minutes later, her colleague deposited my drink on the counter with a loud "Hot chocolate for JOEL!"
He pronounced it just like the boy's name. As well he should, given the spelling on the cup.
I sighed again.
"That's me!" I announced brightly.
And then I collected my drink and walked out, in my ballet flats and swishy black dress, secure more than ever in my femininity.