Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Girl Named Frank...

Before I head into today's blog post, you will undoubtedly be pleased to hear that I have cleaned out my vegetable drawer (erm the day after the last post actually...and where did June go???), and moved the basil plant outside.  So those of you that were going to form a posse to come lynch me over this can just stop it right now!

Oh, wait, that was a posse to come lunch me.  I actually am up for that.  

Today I'm going to tell you the story of how I ended up being called Frank during my junior year of high school. But first I have to explain to my US readers that  Grade 8 is the same as 8th Grade.  It seems to be confusing so I thought I'd throw that out there.  Also in deference to the confusion that is wrought over said use of Grade either before or after the numeric modifier, I actually spent a good deal of time trying to figure out that Grade 11 (11th Grade) is Junior year.  Because my "high school" was Grades 8 through 12 (8th through 12th Grade) so those freshman etc. labels didn't work so well so I never learned them.  You're welcome.

Next time I'm adding French to the translation above.  I think it might make it clearer.

In said high school, the first three years (yo, bitches, I'm a writer! I can work around the whole 'grade' debacle!) had remedial, regular, and challenge classes based on, well whatever they base that stuff on.  In the latter two years, the classes diverged into two groups, people planning to move on to University levels and those more geared toward trades, or technical schools.  I had been in the challenge classes for the most part, with more or less the same group of people.  Then in junior year, the classes/students all changed.  

To an introvert like myself, such a drastic change is stressful.  (That sentence by the way is a massive understatement, and we won't go into just how hard the first weeks were for me to manage so many new people.  Plus, teenager!  Angst!)  I also really didn't like the spotlight or the attention on me in any way.  

For those of you that only know me online, I also have a stubborn streak.  People that know me in real life generally have that part figured out.  :P

Throughout my school years, at the beginning of each new class, the teacher would always ask me what name I went by.  See, my Mom had put both my first and middle names on the registration so teachers would always ask if I went by Pamela or Dianne.   I've gone through a spate of variations on those, but I've noticed people tend to start with Pamela, then shift to Pam or Pammie depending on relationship.  Throughout high school my nickname was Pammie Di.

It was English 11 where the teacher, who also doubled as a drama teacher and general asshat (colored in no small part by the story I'm telling) was taking roll call the first day and asked me the question.  Only he threw me for a loop when he asked if I went by Pamela or Pam.  So I responded with "Both."  Because it was true.  

That answer was not well-received.  "What is your preference?"  My response was "I don't have one."

I'm not sure where his head was at in this, as an adult I'd love to know what was prompting the arrogance that followed, but I was really happy that my stubborn nature completely stomped on the introvert during the following conversation.

"You have to have a preference."

"No, actually I don't.  It's my name.  Either can be used and I'll answer."

"But there must be one you prefer."

"No, there isn't."

"What do you want us to call you?"

"Either of those are fine."

"You have to have a preference."  

By now this exchange had been going on in circles for several minutes, and if I'd given it any thought I'd have likely been mortified at the attention.  As it was, he was mostly just pissing me off by not allowing my perfectly reasonable answer.

It was about at that point that the guy beside me I didn't know, obviously done with it all, called out loudly, "Fine, we'll call you Frank."  I laughed and told him that was fine as well.  Fortunately it was enough to get the teacher to back off and move on to the next person.  (Fortunate for him, because when stubborn mode is on, I can outlast anyone.  ;)  )

I don't remember what the teacher ended up calling me that year.  But I do know that I got called Frank by pretty much everyone in that class, in the classroom and out.  It was to the point where I'd be in the mall and someone would call out Frank and I'd turn to look and respond if it was me.   

Oddly enough, that one incident became a huge learning experience for me in terms of meeting new people openly and without fear.  And the guy who named me became a really good friend through my last years there, and a lot of fun to boot.  

Now when anyone asks me what I'd like to be called, it's easy to answer too.  "No preference, you'll figure it out."

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