The clerk grimaces and pushes the form back toward me. "You forgot to fill in your middle initial. ...in the box there"
"Um.....no, actually I didn't. I don't have one." I am a wee bit defensive and definitely annoyed. I push it back toward her. "I thought that part was optional, sort of like, do I want anti-glare on my new glasses or cheese on my pasta or if I click here I can play another round of trivia. Look, I don't have a middle name.'
"She touches her nose absentmindedly as if she's wearing glasses and they slipped down the bridge only she's not wearing any but I know the feeling. I've done it. I've also put on my glasses to 'hear' someone better so I get it. I just wish she would.
"You really don't have a middle name?' curiosity mixed with...is that PITY?
"I really don't have a middle name. Correct. I also didn't go to prom. Thanks for reminding me of a traumatic experience. Do you get paid extra for that?" I say this passive-aggressively with a smile. She cracks her gum and sweeps the form under the counter and rolls her eyes
. She probably has to deal with a lot of people like me. People with no middle names or too many consonants in their surnames or something so unbelievably unpronounceable that a watch list is immediately produced and scrutinized with patriotic fervor but I 'look' okay except for the mild aggressive vibe wafting from me (or maybe she doesn't like Shalimar or that I'm wearing pearls to a government office like I'm trying to impress someone.)
She tells me to sit down and wait for my name to be called. I find a seat next to a woman with a lovely baby whose eye I catch and he begins cooing and reaching for my pearls.
Pearls....part of my nom de plume, my alter ego. I can't use that. Way back when I believed in organized religion I took Theresa as my confirmation name in the hopes of righting wrongs but was crushed when informed I could not legally use it when obtaining my learners permit, all that religious instruction gone to waste. God knew my evil dastardly plans. It was all about me, not Him, and here I am again properly admonished.
'What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.' Sweet words written (or perhaps not) by a man who also did not have a middle name. That's a fact for all you trivia buffs.
So suck it up, Buttercup. I'm in good company. And I let the baby play with my pearls while I think of more important things like....lunch.