Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

I bought a Shirley yesterday.

Yes, a Shirley.

What is a Shirley you may ask?

Well, Shirley is a Global Positioning System - or a satellite navigator as it is known to some.

Yes, I've named my SatNav. I think it suits her. Annoying voice, always trying to tell you where to go - most likely right all of the time except for when you really are in a hurry then she leads you down the garden path. Gets hysterical when you make a wrong move whether you know it or not, then she really lets you have it. Something that you will be talking to saying, "Yes, Shirley. What every you say, Shirley." Behind her back, you're more than likely saying ,"Eff off Shirley, there's no sodding way I'm taking Punt Road - or Chapel Street - go to hell!"

I think Shirley is the perfect name for a GPS. Lachlan's mother's name is Shirley. I think it's apt. I could have named it after the Grounded Dutchman's mother, who has many of the same traits of Lachlan's mother, but her name is long and Dutch and it can't be served up with the same amount of vitriol. (and she's a nice lady too - we couldn't do that to her). The Grounded Dutchman's mum would also never be seen with a pint of bitter and a fag in her mouth at ten a.m. either.

Naming things is something I love to do. As I'm probably never going to be a mother, I won't have the opportunity to mess up my children with my choice of name.

So I tend to name inanimate objects instead.

As some of you are aware, I have a car named Andrew at the moment. I work with an Andrew at the moment. I also have a cousin who is a copper named Andrew and another cousin who lives in Tasmania named Andrew. My Andrew was not named after a middle suburbs politician who never shuts up, nor an undercover member of the drug squad, nor a wearhouseman from Bagdad, Tasmania.

Andrew was named after a long gone ex's wobbly bits. Small but gets you where you need to go.  I think the name suits a 2000 white, five door Toyota Echo really well.

I've named all my previous cars as well. I've had Edna the EJ Holden (Large, lumpy, good at growing things in the boot), Phoebe the Fiesta - named by the car's former owner who is now a well respected doctor - so it's not just me - it might be an Adelaide thing.

And my car before Andrew was Colin. Colin was a 0.65 litre Daihatsu Centro. Colin had small man syndrome. I would have called him Allan, but Allans make the tea - and this car was as weak as maiden's piss - useless. So Colin it was. Strange thing is, the last two Colins I've met have been a drill seargent in the navy and a cauliflower earred Scotsman, both standing around six foot three and built like a brick dunny. Not small men at all.

It's funny how names can stick with you. Talking to Emm today after pump class she asked if I had thought of a name for my proposed new car, hopefully a zippy little Madza 2. "Dennis," I said. Emm then asked why I seemed to name my cars after middle aged accountants with comb overs.

Hmm, interesting point. Rather than Dennis, it could be a Malcolm or a Trevor or a Geoffrey or a Raymond. If I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel I could go down the Donald or Reginald route - then again, my grandfather was a Reg - best leave that for a stroppy ginger cat I may get in the future.

I love names, I really do. I was thrilled to find out that Reindert is a brand of fabric softener in the Netherlands. Why would his mother do that to him? That's just choice, especially as his brothers have two of the commonest names in the Netherlands. Why divert from the norms?

Meeting the Grounded Dutchman was peppered with angst as he has the same name as my long dead father. It took quite a while to get over the associations. I also have many "uncles" with the same name. Men with the Grounded Dutchman's christian name tend to be cricket loving, beer swilling reprobates with a desire for fame. They're also now all aged in their seventies.

I've been out with Marcs, who always seem to have mother issues, Simon's who inevitably love their computers more than me and Matthews, who would be near perfect if only they would wash their hair  occasionally.
Women's names are just as fraught. I've never met a Natalie who wasn't as fake as a three dollar note, a Rebecca who wasn't on antidepressants or  a Tammy who didn't have a boyfriend who was into CB radio and was knocked up by the age of sixteen.

I also have clusters of friends who seem to have names and similar traits. Of my three friends called Verity, all have had marital problems but seem to be able to work miracles in the business world. The Carolyn's I know all tend to whine a lot but their hearts are in the right place. Rosemary's are good in a crisis. Petronella's will undoubtedly smell of patchouli and think they are psychic.

I remember when a friend said she was going to call her son Francis. All I couldn't think was, hmmm, sits at the back of the class, picks his spots and eats glue. Just like the Mileses and Rodneys of this world.

Really, I shouldn't make fun of names. I'm Pandora. Pandy to my family. Pand to most. I get called Alison regularly - I'm told I look like an Alison.

I hated my name growing up. I've grown into it now. Knowing that when Pandora's box was opened and all of the evils of the world flew out all that was left was hope and opportunity. I rather like that.

But I'm also sure there are number of people out there who associate the name with Adrian Mole's first love and bogan troll bracelets.

Each to his own.

Pand (mother of Andrew the echo and Shirley the GPS)


Anonymous said...

I agree, names are fun. Except for my Landcruiser who doesn't like to be called any and my friend Mandy who is unhappy with hers. GD's mum has the same name as the queen of England except for the II. Even for an Australian from Adelaide that should pronounceable.
Try speaking S L O W L Y......

Pandora Behr said...

GD - your Landcruiser has been dubbed Beryl - deal with it. Your friend Amanda hates being called Mandy - and she only lets family call her that cos they don't know better - she particularly hates it when you bray it across the office. Deal with that. And lastly - as you are aware, I change all names in this blog. And yes, your mum has a lovely name just like the queen - too lovely to name a sat nav after.

Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to work out what the problem with CB radio is :P

Kath Lockett said...

Shirley is a close ally of Cheryl. If I ever get a Navman (NavWoman?) she will be named Cheryl. Prickly, defensive and hopes that if she snaps at you you'll give up and not ask her to do any work again.

I work in Barry Street and am still looking for neighbouring Trevor and Dennis avenues...

Red Nomad OZ said...

I was told once that your name is your mantra - therefore you 'grow into it' because you hear it so often during your life it becomes a part of you. It's bad luck to change it as that'll alter the mantra's vibe. Don't know whether or not I agree with the theory, but it DOES explain similarities between people with the same name!!

Happy travels!!

River said...

I know a Lachlan whose mother's name is Shirley. He's from Melbourne and the beer and smokes thing fits too.
I love naming things. All my teddies and monkeys have names. (I keep them around for small children to play with.)
When I had fruit trees in tubs they all had names too.

Pandora Behr said...

@ Kath - around Barry Street there are enough Dennis and Trevors found at #45 - I can introduce you if you want.

@ Red Nomad - I completely agree - the kabbalists say that being named is your parents only chance of claiming your destiny.

@ River - Hmm. Mind you, my Lachlan is English - but still, seems Shirleys (Like Beryls and Yvonnes) are the same across the world.