The thing I hate most (besides being confused with Shreveport celebrity Donecia Pea) is for people to get my very simple name wrong.
I got called Ashley Northingham yesterday for the zillionth time. Ugh! Ham? It's NorthingTON, people. I gave the school secretary a break though, I just smiled and shrugged as if she pronounced it correctly.
She was very nice and professional, but I get tired of over-enunciating my last name, only for people to still get it mixed up with something else.
At least she didn't say Worthington. Or Washington. Or Nottingham. Or Northing. I get all those other last names a lot too.
The people who get it wrong the most are administrative assistants. I call them incessantly. And, just when I think we've built a friendly relationship someone always lets me down by saying, "OK, Ms. Worthington. I'll tell him to call you."
I get a ton of mail addressed to Ashley Northingham, Ashley Nottingham, Alisa Northington (I can only guess the first name mix up is due to the fact that my editor's name really is Alisa--at least they got the last name right.)
When people call to ask me for my email address I cringe: "It's A as in apple, D as in dog, N.O.R.T.H.I.N.G.T.O.N. at gannett.com. And that's G.A.N.N.E.T.T."
It's really a mouthful.
I understand my name is long. It's even too long for me to write the whole thing when I sign papers. But I will never change it. Not even if I marry. I think my last name is one of the things that makes me unique--aside from the other Ashley Northington, who is a teacher in Aiken, South Carolina. I bet people mix up her name a lot too.
At restaurants I don't even tell people my real name. Most of the time I give the hostess the last name of the other people I'm with: Rucker, Anderson, Ellis, Holland. Lately, I've taken to Hunter. I stole that from my editor Velda. I think her last name suits me well--at least for restaurant reservations.
But seriously, how hard can it be?
Just ask any school secretary.