Wednesday, February 6, 2013

An Uncommon Name

I have been at Cal State East Bay for six months now so, today, I thought it was high time to obtain a student ID card.  I went into the administration building and gave the middle-aged woman behind the counter the necessary state-issued photo identification card.  I nonchalantly looked out the window for a minute to see if the wind had picked up outside when I heard a rather audible intake of breath which quickly drew my attention back to the lady behind the desk.  She was looking at me incredulously.  I saw her hand come out to grasp mine in a hand shake.  In the split second before my fingers touched hers, the thought occurred to me that this woman was going to excitedly exclaim that I was the 750th student to come to the counter this quarter and that the debt-ridden, mismanaged state of California was somehow awarding me with $500,000.  That rather ridiculous notion left my head quickly, however, when, instead, she excitedly exclaimed, "Your name is Celia!  That's my name!  You are now the fourth person I have ever met that has the name Celia!"  Having never come across another living, breathing human being with my name before, I was also quite enthused by this news.  What I thought was going to be a quick run-in to pick up a simple ID card ended up being a thorough discussion on both the benefits and the woes of having the unique name of "Celia."  We listed all of the different names we had been called throughout the years (Cecilia, Cecil, Sylvia...).  We talked about its pronunciation and she nearly convinced me (not really) to start pronouncing my name the Spanish way rather than the English way.  We stewed over the idea that the name Sally is supposedly considered an English equivalent for Celia (to which my Dad commented, "You are not a Sally.").  We discussed how Celia comes from the word "celestina" which means heavenly (as already stated in my blog description to the right of this post).  After contemplating together the life of Celia Cruz, "La Reina de la Salsa," I left the office feeling slightly deflated that my wild thought of winning $500,000 did not come to pass, but I also found myself inexplicably satisfied with the encounter.  While it used to bother me that my teachers never pronounced my name properly in school and that my name has bred nicknames like Seal throughout the years, I am pleased that I have a unique yet not overly abnormal-sounding name.  It stands out without being over the top.  It commands a certain level of attention.  It has a nice ring to it.

My name is Celia.  Not many people in this world can say that, and I find that kind of cool.
(I am using this image strictly as a visual.  I am not suggesting that you read this book.  I have never heard of it, let alone read it. :) )

1 comment:

hannahhosking said...

i don't even remember the last time i actually called you celia.... nicknames are a sign of love and affection! you're the only person i know with the name celia, i love it.