There’s an older man in our neighborhood that I met through the local running club (I was briefly a member) and he lives on the next street. EVERY TIME he sees me run or walk by his house he hollers, “Hey Ellen!”
I guess when we were introduced he never heard my name correctly and I simply do not have the heart to tell him. So I just wave and smile. I mean, I have been called worse.
The other day I walked by with the kids and he and his wife were a few driveways down from their own house, talking to other neighbors, but he still managed to greet me. And I decided in that moment that it is really weird to be called a different name; one that is not your own.
Who is Ellen, anyway? Could she be my alter ego? For some reason I always thought my alter ego would be called “Eileen”. Perhaps because in college I danced to the song, “Come On Eileen” so many times at Dallas night clubs. Of course if a big group of my friends were there with me we would just change it ourselves as we sang/screamed “Come On Elaine!” over the blaring music.
I know a few Ellens and so I also think of them when he calls me that. Maybe in the moment he changes my name I am supposed to be reminded of them, since they are in Texas and I am here. Two in particular come to mind. One is a good friend from college and another was in the church choir with me at our church in Arlington. Very different people, but great Ellens all the same.
So what would he do if he found out after all this time that he has been calling me the wrong name? I know the longer I do not tell him the worse in gets. Will he feel foolish? I guess I would. Will he continue to call me Ellen to be funny? I would probably do that too. I don’t know him well enough to know if his sense of humor would garner such a response but if it did I would laugh and love it all the same. To him I can be Ellen, even though to the rest of the world I am Elaine.
Unless “Come on Eileen” comes on then all bets are off.