It’s Raquel, not Rachel

I distinctly remember this one Friends episode where Jennifer Aniston’s character, Rachel, comes home from work and the gang asks her about her day.

Rachel: Ugh, the worse day! Y’know, you think you’re making progress at work and then your boss calls you Raquel.

Chandler: Hey listen, for the first four years of my work everybody called me Sha-la-lap. (Awkward silence ensues.) Seriously.

Rachel: I believe you. So, it was right in the middle of a staff meeting so of course no one else wants to correct her so everyone else is calling me Raquel! By the end of the day, the mailroom guys were calling me Rocky!

I guffawed and laughed so hard when I heard that, it was so funny because I could relate.

People has always had trouble spelling my name. There has been instances when it has been spelt Rakel, Racquel or even Rachel. Rakel was most common when I was still growing up because my classmates simply write it as they say it. When corrected though, they started spelling it the right way. The wayward “C” in Racquel is also common even up to now – also understandable, since there are also people out there who spell their names that way (it is a variant of Raquel after all). What I don’t understand is how people could mistake Rachel for Raquel. The first is pronounced RAY-chel while my name is pronounced rah-KELL. Totally different.

And if that isn’t enough, people also has trouble pronouncing my name. I’ve also been called Rey-kell in the past as well as Rak-well. So you see, it’s not only the spelling that’s giving me grief but the pronunciation as well.

Surely, some people would argue that they are only human and are allowed to make mistakes. True, and I appreciate that some people do get the correct spelling and pronunciation after being corrected (thank you!) On the other hand, I’ve met several people just can’t get it right even after numerous reminders that my name is spelled R-A-Q-U-E-L, pronounced Rah-kell.

During my stint in a hospital in Canberra, there was this Filipino guy who just can’t get it into his head that I am not Rachel, he keeps calling me that and I keep correcting him every single time. Over time though, I figured he just doesn’t care to remember and I couldn’t care less either if he can’t get it in his thick skull that it isn’t my name. Maybe it’s a case of not being able to teach an old dog new tricks. Then there was this one time when he greeted me, “Hi, Rachel!” and I just nodded politely. My Aussie officemates asked me why I didn’t correct him. To which I answered, because I’m tired of it, he never remembers anyway! Well, they weren’t too happy about it and told me that I should keep correcting him till he gets it. They reasoned that not remembering a person’s name is just like being disrespectful of the person. The next time the guy passed by our area and did his usual “Hi, Rachel” greeting, they corrected him and told him off. He remembered to call me by my name a few times after that but reverted back to using Rachel soon after. Hopeless.

To be fair, there are people who do get it right the first time. Extra brownie points to you if you’re one of them and let me tell you, I would certainly make sure I get your name right too!

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Published in: on July 7, 2005 at 1:16 am  Comments (4)