Thoughtful Thursday: Stickler
October 30, 2009
By nature I am a detail-oriented person, and I take a lot of care with every kind of detail. I am well aware that not everyone else is so concerned with precision. When other people make an error, sometimes I can be quite a stickler, and sometimes I let things go. Strangely, the issues that get to me the most aren’t necessarily the ones that matter the most. Here are some examples.
- My name. My real name is impossible to spell and pronounce, and I have spent far too much of my life correcting people. The only times I let people use the wrong name are when I’m about to never see them again, as when my order is ready at Starbucks. Otherwise, I just can’t let it go. When I first met DH, he mangled my name, and I was so intent on correcting him that he thought I couldn’t stand him, and our relationship almost never got off the ground. Good thing we worked that out.
- Misinformation. Especially as it pertains to my profession, there are issues that I just can’t let slide when I hear someone say something horribly wrong. I try not to be bossy and know-it-all, really I do, but sometimes I can’t help myself.
- In the hospital both pre- and postnatally, the babies’ conception came up frequently. Quite a few times, a health care worker stated that the babies were conceived through IVF rather than IUI. Sometimes I was careful to correct them, when it seemed like the misinformation might make its way into the chart or otherwise stick around. Other times, especially when it was one practitioner talking to another rather than to me, I bit my tongue.
- Also on the topic of fertility, sometimes I hear people say outlandish things about infertility problems and treatments. Sometimes I feel the need to educate them, and sometimes I shrug and move on.
- The name of this blog. There is no “the” in the name. As I explained when I first started blogging, the blog name is a line in a Radiohead song. I realize that it doesn’t look quite right unless you know the song. I’ve seen lots of people add a “the” in their blogrolls, links to my blog on their blogs, etc. Occasionally I send someone an email with a friendly correction, but usually I don’t say anything because I don’t want to go around the blogosphere bossing people around. (But, if you have the name written wrong somewhere on your blog and now you would like to correct it, that would be lovely.)
- “Are these your first?” As in, “Is this your first pregnancy?” or, other times, “Are these your first children?” To health care workers, I carefully explain my two miscarriages. To everyone else, I evade the pregnancy part of the question and simply say that these are my first children.
- Tamale’s name. Burrito’s name, like the word burrito itself, is rarely mispronounced or misspelled. Tamale’s name, like the word tamale, has a few potential proper pronunciations (such as ta-MAH-lay and ta-MOLLY…) and many more mispronunciations (TA-muh-lay, TA-mail, ta-MAIL…). When I chose her actual name long ago, I had no idea that people would consider it as exotic as they do, and I had no idea that anyone would think to pronounce it any way other than the “right” way. Already in her short life, I have heard an incredible number of guesses as to the pronunciation. So far, I have been saying it properly to each person once, and then letting any subsequent mispronunciations go. As she grows up, I don’t want her to have the same visceral reaction to hearing her name misspoken that I do for my name, and I don’t want her to have to waste so much effort making people get it right. So what if a restaurant hostess or substitute teacher doesn’t say it right? I certainly don’t want her to be such a stickler about her name that she risks shooing away her future husband like I almost did. Some things are more important than the details being exactly right.
When are you a stickler? When do you let things go?