I Should Have Named Her HummusPosted: February 29, 2012
People are weird, social media is weird. Whenever I think I’ve got it down, this navigating this brave new world of connecting with people I’ve never actually met and probably won’t ever meet, something goes and throws a bit sort of monkey wrench into the works and it gets all bizarre again.
Yesterday, someone I know from Twitter and Tumblr was saying on Facebook (I know, I am doing the same double-take as you over that group of words) that her preschool-aged daughter had informed her that she no longer wished to eat her Standard Lunch Sandwich (sun butter and jelly, in case you were wondering). People were making Alternate Sandwich Suggestions, sometimes mentioning their own child’s preferences, and I chimed in to say that I’ve heard people love cream cheese and jelly, and that Juniper loves hummus sandwiches (which she does because she is awesome and hummus is awesome and long live the incredible chickpea).
Someone else chimed in, after me, to say something like “I can’t believe you know children named Juniper and Other Name and Other Name!” (all slightly unusual names, I suppose). I was a bit taken aback by this, obviously, because really WHO DOES THAT, so I immediately replied that “Well, (commenter’s name) was taken, so we had to make do.”, meaning of course to inject simultaneously a bit of humor and a bit of WHAT THE EVER-LIVING FUCK into the situation. She replied that her name was the name of queens, not (whatever) or witches or plants.
I believe it devolved from there, with the original poster (the one from Twitter and Tumblr) eventually deleting the entire post and sending all the rest of us a message apologizing for her friend (?)’s behavior.
Honestly, I find the whole thing amusing. I mean, I know I named my daughter “Juniper”. I get it. She’s not Meghan or Olivia or Ashley, and there won’t be any other girls in her class with the same name as her. People often mis-hear her name as “Jennifer”, and some people look at me blankly and blink like there’s something in their eyes while saying, “Wow, that’s different.” (Meaning, of course, “Wow, that is such an insanely terrible name. You’re all clearly on drugs and will probably go to hell when you finally leave this planet and stop taking up all the resources regular people need with your stupid hippie naming shit.” I imagine, anyway.) I know. But I love her name, I think it’s beautiful and original and lovely, and I can’t imagine her being named any other name in existence, because her name is truly and thoroughly Juniper. And Juniper is a pretty word, with musical phonemes and lilting syllables and just the right number of vowels and vowel sounds. It’s a perfect name, really, and I’m not and won’t be sorry that I gave it to her, and I won’t be defensive about it, either. It’s her name.
What’s funny to me, though; is that I can’t believe that this other person is really that much of an asshole. I can’t imagine, for instance, chatting about this topic in a circle at a party and having her come up and insinuate herself into the conversation just to borderline mock the names we had chosen for our children. (Maybe she’d do so later, privately, but probably not RIGHT THERE IN PUBLIC). I just can’t imagine that. But that’s essentially what she did, to people she doesn’t know at all and won’t ever meet. She wasn’t trolling, she wasn’t responding passionately to a political debate with her own deep-seated feelings on a Very Important Matter. She was derailing a conversation about preschoolers’ lunch choices. Really. For reals.
It’s bizarre, that special brand of quasi-anonymity that we have on websites like Facebook. Because there’s her name, right there for anyone to see. But I don’t know her, so there probably won’t be any social fallout, at least from me. And since she avoided an opportunity to say, “Oh geeze, I didn’t mean it like THAT! I just was remarking on all the unusual names, is all!”, I’d say she is purposefully being sort of an asshole, but it’s not like she is stalking me to mock my kids. Well, yet. It’s all just bizarre, and funny, and I guess I don’t have any enormous insights except to say that social media certainly helps keep life interesting.