Hello My Name is Doug

June 12, 2007

When I lived in the U-District, I never knew my neighbors. My next-door neighbor was an older balding man who always wore white undershirts with black dress socks. He had glasses and always looked surprised to see me in the hallway. He only spoke to me in mumbles and after two and half years, I never knew his name. Those were my neighbors.

When I inquired about the open apartment in Capitol Hill, I asked my future apartment manager what qualities he would evaluate potential renters because there was more than one person interested. He said that it would be a combination of the normal stuff but he would also evaluate on how well the renter would relate to the current community… Community?

In life, you can’t choose your family. You can’t choose your co-workers. And to some extent, you can’t choose your neighbors. By the first week of moving in, I had met most of my neighbors. And they are so cool, but three of them stand out – Ricco, Bethany and Jane. Ricco is a gay fashion consultant who gives me advice on everything from sushi restaurants to date night activities. Bethany is amazingly pretty, even when she is in her baggy college sweatshirt and smoking a cigarette. And Jane is the sweetest most laid back person I have ever met. They make it a community for me. They ask me how my dating life is going. They knew that I got my wisdom teeth out. They know what I do for a living and they ask about my life. I love them.

But something strange has happened with Jane. She thinks my name is Doug. The first time Jane called my Doug I corrected her. And we had a good laugh about it. She said that a guy named Doug moved in the same time I did and she must have gotten confused. Days go by after the Doug name-calling incident and I see Jane again. I was running to my car, late for a date and she was sitting on the lawn chair smoking. As I was getting into my car and closing the door, Jane calls out and says “goodnight Doug.” My door closed and it was too late to correct her. A couple of days later we pass on the stairs and she goes “Doug, Doug, Doug.” Again, I was running late and didn’t have the time to correct her. I told Ricco about my predicament and he said he would talk to Jane. Tonight after bullshitting with Jane about how Seattle is always shitty in June (Kelli calls is “June-uary.”) she called me Doug again.

But now I feel like I cannot correct her again. I told her once. Ricco told her once. And now that I have accepted the name Doug on numerous encounters, I have in fact become Doug. It is like the Seinfeld episode where a woman at Elaine’s work, Peggy, thinks Elaine is named Susie. Peggy wants to have a meeting with Peterman, Elaine and Susie because she thinks Elaine is a dolt and tells Susie this who is actually Elaine. When Elaine talks with Jerry about Peggy badmouthing Elaine in front of her, he states one of my favorite lines from the show, “The nerve. Talkin’ about ya behind your back and right to your face!”

I know that I have to have that uncomfortable conversation with Jane again about my name. I was hoping it would go away but it is not. But at the end of the day what is wrong with being Doug?


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