I like Starbucks. I’ve mentioned that before. They are one of the few mega chains to have successfully implemented the much sought after ‘personal touch’. You know, from the days before the mega supermarkets. When you popped into ten different little stores on the high street, and was greeted by the owner, your amigo. Who was always friendly, knew his stuff and served you just right. Of course, I’m referring to the stores on shows like The Wonder Years, or the Waltons. In real life, store owners were just as likely to be miserable old gits as they were to be friendly.
Take my visit to Starbucks yesterday as the perfect example. I ordered a Frappucino, but their machine was out of order or something. They were very apologetic, and I ordered a latte instead, sat down and drank it. Just as I was about to leave, one of the staff came up to my table. Their machine was working again. Here was the Frappucino I had ordered. Gratis. That’s the ‘personal touch’ I like.
But there was one little problem with their attentiveness. They always ask your name, and write it on the cup. The quizzical looks I’ve been givien upon telling them my name, the weird crap I’ve had written on my cups and the mad names I’ve been called over the years….just leave the cup blank, dudes! Sometimes they do just that. My name is pretty simple. Just two syllables. Yesterday I was Karal. Do I look Polish? Or did I wander in to the store in a slightly effeminate way? Sort of like a Carol would?
I can’t entirely blame them though. There is no Mexican version of Gary. And my weird British accent can’t help matters. It would be okay if I was a John, Paul, George or…well maybe Ringo wouldn’t be ideal. But Juan, Paulo and Jorge are all easily taken in. Ricardo, Alfredo and Carlos would all be equally acceptable if I was a Richard, Alf or Charles. I could even be Adolpho, although to be honest Adolf hasn’t ever had much appeal as a name in the UK. Since 1939 in particular. A renaissance isn’t expected any time soon. It’s a matter of taste, I guess. Although, as ever, there are always those with no taste.
But anyway, I do need a new name. A ‘Mexico Friendly’ name. Gary just isn’t working out for me. With a lot of names, you can just add an ‘o’ (or an ‘a’ if you’re of the fairer sex) and bingo – you’re all done. But Garyo doesn’t sound any better to me. It is close to Mario. But I don’t think I’m a Mario. I quite liked the name Garrapata that Paola used to affectionately call me. Till I discovered that a garrapata is a tick that dogs get in their ears.
Another obvious option is Garibaldi, after t. Col. José Garibaldi, a famous Mexican military commander, and an even more famous plaza in Mexico City where the mariachis hang out. But then there are also these. And it wouldn’t be a new name for me anyway. There have been friends who’ve called me Garibaldi since my hair started receding.
I do like the ring that Gacho has to it though. I could be a Señor Gacho. If I’m trying to impress, I could even be Macho Gacho. Sounds cool to me. Unfortunately, the word gacho is, apparently, far from complimentary. It’s a sort of combination of a few derogatory terms. So much as I like it, I think I have to rule Gacho out. Not least because the Starbucks staff might think I’m speaking to them, not simply telling them my name. I don’t want to offend. So maybe I’ll just have to soldier on with Gary, unless someone has a better name that fits. I’m just not Mario, Garibaldi, Gacho or Garrapata material. But most of all, I am definitely not a Carol.