OK, that headline might be a little overdramatic. That being said, if you’ve been following along with this column, then you already know that’s standard protocol.
Yes, my name is Noe.
No, it was not my choice.
Yes, I love my name.
No, I would not change it.
But damn if it doesn’t drive me nuts some days. It’s only three letters. So simple. Psych.
The most common pronunciation is “No” because everyone thinks the “e” is silent. No, it’s not.
Back in the day, every time a substitute came to class, whether it was elementary, middle or high school, it was always the same story during roll call. “Is No here?” the sub would ask. My response was “No.” It happened so often, friends actually looked at me in anticipation of the inevitable vocal gaffe to which we always laughed at.
And it doesn’t stop at school. Anywhere and everywhere I go, it’s always the same thing. Do I blame the person who incorrectly pronounces it? Not at all. I love that they’re trying.
Just over the weekend, I was asked how my name was pronounced at least three times. I really like that people genuinely want to know, but imagine having to do this for over 20 years. It can be a little vexing.
When I got to Hanford, I let out a long sigh because I knew I was going to have explain it all over again after I had spent more than eight months doing the same thing in Palmdale. It’s been over three years now and I still haven’t been able to explain it. Maybe I’m the problem.
Either way, I’ll admit I give up on my name at times. On multiple occasions, I’ve given a different name at Starbucks to avoid the surgical eyes when my order is called. Kyle is the most common one I use, but others have been strewn into the name-for-a-minute pot.
I do it for two reasons: First, I can’t always discern my order because I think the barista is saying the actual word “no” instead of calling my name. Imagine the poor barista calling someone’s name out five times only for the person five feet in front of them to finally realize it’s their drink. Awkward. Second, I don’t need everyone staring at me while I’m trying to grab my iced oatmilk honey latte with Starbucks blonde espresso or iced caramel cloud macchiato. I recommend both by the way.
I mentioned the looks I get. What the heck is his name? Who the heck is this guy? Where the heck did he come from? It’s a lot of hecks given for someone they don’t know, but they’re always present. All the while, I’m just trying to indistinctly get in and out to caffeinate my lifeless body.
At this point, there’s a couple different ways to say my name. Acceptable pronunciations I’ll take are No-E, Noah and No-way. I honestly don’t care which one you choose. Just please, I beg of you, don’t call me No.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Why is this self-absorbed idiot telling me about his name?’ I thought it’d be therapeutic to discuss the thing that presents me misery on a daily basis. I was wrong. I’m still miserable.
I’m joking of course — maybe. Like I said, I love my name and wouldn’t trade it for anything. There’s plenty of positives with it too. It almost always starts a conversation with people so it’s easy to break the ice. It’s easy to write. It’s easy to remember how to spell.
I could honestly write a book about my name and the experiences from it. The time someone thought my name was female or the other time someone thought it wasn’t real. Trust me, there’s a lot.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it’s that I will not be naming my future child Noe Jr.