Names always seem to escape me.
They must remember you from something truly horrific then, someone said. Of course I know their real name, I'm just calling them someone.
Don't be silly, I said, I'm much better with titles.
Titles? Someone chortled. I don't know how they managed it but it was a pure, wholehearted chortle with the right inflection and everything. Titles aren't impressive, they said, you can distinguish between a male and a female, a single woman and a married woman - shocker. Isn't that cruel though? Making a woman establish her marital status?
That's what Ms is all about, I believe. I said this with a slight nod of one-upmanship but then realised that this argument was actually fucking ancient.
Well it is a can of worms, someone said.
True, I said, but how about the way we turn titles into contractions of themselves? Why is everybody okay with that?
Like Dr and PC?
Well not PC, that's an acronym.
We're both talking about police constables, yes?
Yes. I rolled my eyes. It pisses someone off because they can't do it themselves.
And we always take the first and last letter of the word, don't we? Someone leant back. The title, I mean. There's always an 'r' involved somewhere.
In the big ones, absolutely. In the popular ones.
Always two letters too. Or three.
I flicked the concept down the unfurling trail of my mind. Two letters. Most two-letter words are prepositions, the ones with vowels anyway: to, on, of, in. There is 'by' of course, how could I forget by? The only preposition without vowels. Titles don't have vowels, none of the ones I know. And actual names? Jo. That was all I could think of, that's the only one that ever comes immediately to mind. It's a contraction, a nickname. All other two-letter names are nicknames really. I don't like any of them, they're all jarring. I didn't tell someone this, it seemed like they would hive-mind with me again.
I have a name, you know, someone said.
I know, I said.
I'm just saying because you never actually use it.
Well, I can't remember it, can I?
I suppose what you're trying to say is that I should just be happy to be known by you, someone said, to be acknowledged.
Be happy that you're someone, I said, I'm only ever someone until you know me, same goes for everyone else. You're someone to me always. I want to preserve you in that state.
I suppose that's quite beautiful. Actually.
Yes it is. I then stood up. Even though it is just a pronoun.
As I left I heard another typical thing from that typical someone. I believe it was: I'm a pro. I hurried away before the inflection could rise.