I recently started working at a local restaurant as a barista/bartender and the idea of it excited me to no end!!! In my second fictional book, one of the main characters is a bartender and PI, private investigator. While only on the receiving end of a bar, I hadn’t had the experience of hosting a bar, so when this opportunity presented itself via a tingle, I took it. For the book, of course.

On this tingle, I was tasked to work with children my daughter’s age (Gen Z) some millennials, and few peer groups. Me being me, I didn’t compartmentalize, like minds will meld. I introduced myself as Andrea, “Ahn’-dree-ah” every time, as I’ve never mispronounced my name…ever, yet the kids proceeded to call me “Ahn-dray’-ah”.

I’ve never been called Ahn-dray-ah a day in my life, well, maybe, but it was quickly corrected. It was different and I wanted to experience it, as that’s who I am. I like to marinate in off situations to see what comes up, especially if I have an intuition about it.

So, I didn’t hyper correct the team about the mispronunciation and I never mispronounced my name, instead, I checked into me. How did I feel about the mispronouncing of my name. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been called Ann’-dree-ah my entire life and Angela a handful of times, but there was something about Ahn-dray’-ah that rubbed me the wrong way. Why would this generation assume that I pronounced my name that way when I never once introduced it?

Of course I inquired. One person said that he wanted to call me Dray or Drea…not sure the spelling. Another said well, the Latin girls she’d gone to school with all pronounced it that way. So when Ann’-dree-ah called and placed an order, and this same girl was taking it out, she literally said Ann’-dree-ah’s order is up. I stopped her and asked her to repeat what she said. Why did she pronounce her name that way? She literally said, “because she’s white”.

✨Stunned✨ would be the only way to color me. As much as this new generation would like to think they have evolved or are more evolved than we were at their age, they are not. I don’t want to pin a generation on a person, but this name thing has been an eye opening.

I am one of four daughters in my family, and the only one my father named. He was very specific about the pronunciation of it. I remember my ex-husband introduced me as Ann’-dree-ah to his teammate at work, and we talked about it later. “Oh, it’s just easier…” Ok, but it’s not my name. In high school, I had similar problems. There was an Ann’-dree-ah there a year ahead of me. She resented me the moment I introduced myself, but that’s fodder for another story. I worked at a company that hosted 7 Andrea’s on the same floor. I was the only Ahn’-Dree-Ah.

When it comes down to it it, my name matters. If you introduce yourself to me as Susan and I go about calling you Suzanne, that’s a problem. It signals that I don’t care enough about you to try to pronounce your name correctly and I didn’t listen to you. I always think when people mispronounce, “did you even listen to what I said?”

Take the time to respect the person in front of you. Listen to what they are saying. Stop this inane pre judging that people do and need to stop. My younger sister, at 2 could pronounce my name correctly. Surely adults can, too?

I get a tingle when I reflect on my father’s choice of name: Ahn’-dree-ah. He couldn’t have chosen a more controversial name for me and I am just the person to rally against the people who cast me off by not listening. He just liked the sound of it. It was his solo shot at naming, and he did well. I’ll continue to make him proud.

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