I can understand that people from other cultures, or who speak different languages, may have difficulties identifying which part of my name is my family name and which is my given name. I, sadly, suffer from the same problem; I hope that they are as forgiving as I am . Confusing my name with a country is an entirely different story.
We were driving our way through Maine, having left Boston a few days before. We had decided to wing our way up, stopping wherever we felt like stopping, eating whenever we got hungry and just enjoying the scenery on our way up.
At one particular rest-stop we contacted the nearest Best Western hotel to book a room for the night. I chose a Best Western for two reasons:
- They were close to our current position, which was very helpful as we were tired.
- I am a Gold Club member. Which helps when travelling.
The day after, as we checked out, I handed my club card to the receptionist. She took it and mentioned that she will input my membership number as soon as she finishes totting up the bill.
I notice her glancing at the card as she pecked at her keyboard, then she paused and looked at me with a questioning look on her face.
“This is your card, right?” she asked.
“Yes,” I nodded.
“So this is your name, right under the number?” she asked.
I was surprised at this question because the cards are laid out in a standard format so I would have thought that she should know.
“Yes,” I say, “it is.” Just in case, I lean forward, to double-check. She notices and turns the card towards me. I confirm that it is my full name there.
“So this next one, ‘Belgium’ – is that your last name?”
It takes me a moment to keep my composure before I explain that ‘Belgium’ would be part of my address.
Aren’t these things standard?