There is a game I like to play when I visit the coffee shop inspired by a book about a whale. It used to be when your complicated beverage of choice was ready, they would call out what it was, like this:
"Venti decaf double shot skinny mocha frappuccino" and you'd do the walk of shame up to the counter under the assessing gaze of the serious coffee drinkers who wouldn't touch your decaf skinniness with a 10 foot stir stick, double shots or not.
Lately, however, they have taken up the practice of asking for your name, which they would scrawl on the side of your cup. It can't be for the merciful purposes of cutting down on the chagrin we non-straight-up-coffee-drinkers experience, because now they call out the drink and your name. So you're left walking around with the evidence of double whip and caramel sauce around the lip of your plastic cup and your name in bold letters for all to see. Do people whisper, "Ah... now see, there's a Tess. I just knew someone named Tess would drink something with caramel sauce."
So I like to give a fake name according to the mood of the day. If I'm feeling poetical and Parisian as if I'm hiding a black turtle neck and beret under my ordinary fleece jacket, I'll use Justine. On deeply serious days I could be Clare. When I feel mysterious or glamorous, I like to be Vivienne.
The thing is, one must remember the name one has used when giving one's drink order.
More than once I've had to apologize for staring at the barista while she's clearly waiting for me (Mabel or Jessica) to step forward and collect my order.
I paid a visit to said whale-story-inspired coffee shop this weekend. I was Vivienne. The girl behind the counter looked at me for half a beat before she wrote the name down, and I felt my heart speed up a bit. I was sure she was going to tell me there was no way I was a Vivienne. I was sure she was going to call me on it. And in a way she did, because when I picked up my cup, in bold letters down the side, it read Vivian.
O, the power of a misspelled name to shatter the illusion of borrowed glamour.