02 September 2010

where they stayed on their journey to the pacific

At an all-day meeting last week, I did a lot of talking.  Not in a bad, draw-attention-to-myself kind of way, like when you demand and command the center of attention spotlight just because you're talking the loudest.

It was my job to do a lot of talking as I tried to get this group of doctors to work with my company.  Basically, I did a lot of schmoozing, which is a word that sounds exactly like what it means, even though I don't think you'll ever find it in an elementary school language book as a demonstration of onomatopoeia.  Kids don't need to know how to schmooze.

At lunch, one of the doctors said, "Kamiah.  That's such an interesting, beautiful name."

I get compliments on my name a lot, and I always say thank you at this point, as if I had anything to do with choosing my name. Like I came out of the womb screaming, "Go for a distinctive name!  I've already thought of a good one!  What else did you expect me to do in there for nine months?"

The doctor continued, "Where does it come from?"

I get asked about my name so much that I have a standard spiel, a little song-and-dance number I do as I explain my parents' creativity and how smart they were to give me a unique first name to go with my run-of-the-mill last name.

"When my mom was pregnant with me, she read an article in the newspaper about Lewis and Clark's journey to the Pacific.  They wintered in a place that would become the town of Kamiah, Idaho.  She thought it sounded like a good name for a little girl."

I go on to give bonus details about what my name means:  "There are four meanings..."

I sketch out what it was like when my family visited the town when I was 8:  "Well, first of all, we found out that it's pronounced differently.  Also, I was pretty sure they were going to give me a parade, and I remember asking my mom if we could stop in at the local newspaper, just to let them know I was there..."

I talk about how my sister has an unusual name, too, and how we have the same middle name.  For awhile, she requested to go by her middle name {something I, as a punky younger sister, refused to do}, and can you imagine the confusion if both of us had wanted to ditch our stand-out-I'm-sorry-can-you-spell-that names for our very plain middle names?

It's a good spiel, one with enough pitter-patter entertainment that I can get through even the most awkward ice breaking situations.  My name has saved me in such fun situations as:  move-in day at college, job interviews, blind dates, and even business meetings.

However, last week, my spiel went awry during my conversation with the doctor.

As I focused more on choosing my salad dressing, I heard myself say this: "
When my mom was pregnant with me, she read an article in the newspaper about Lois and Clark's journey to the Pacific."

Omg.  Lois and Clark.

Instead of talking about the great explorers of the West, sent by Thomas Jefferson to see what kind of destiny America could manifest, I was talking about the crack reporting duo {and
one of them happens to be a superhero} from the comic book world.  Not being a comic book girl myself, I was really talking about a TV show from the mid-90s.  One that I've been re-watching, thanks to the joy of nostalgia that is Netflix.

And maybe I've been talking about the show a little too much.  Maybe.  You'd have to poll my friends to find out if that's true.

I tried to recover, to go on with the spiel, and honestly, I bet the doctor didn't really notice; she was focused on cutting a piece of cheesecake.

But as I half-heartedly went through my name story, all I could hear in my head was "Lois and Clark:  The New Adventures of Superman" and then the theme music from the show and Lois screaming, "Help, Superman, help!"

This, in case you were wondering, is not the most useful inner dialog to have when you're trying to schmooze.

1 comment:

  1. Friend poll: you do talk about Lois & Clark more than the average person (I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I'm just stating facts).



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