I was at a meeting the other day in which we were asked to introduce ourselves to the group. There were about ten of us, and we pretty much all knew each other, but I still got slightly nervous as my turn approached. Why would that happen? I know who I am and where I work, so there’s not actually a lot that can go wrong.
I know some people have the fear that they might inexplicably say something offensive – just randomly say ‘penis’ or something in a temporary Tourette’s episode. But my fear is that the person before me will have an accent and I’ll do that dreadful thing where you find yourself mimicking them. Or that they’ll have a slightly amusing name and I won’t be able to disguise my smirk.
Which is what happened to me recently. I swear this is true. I met a lovely German woman called Charlotte. She was an older lady, had moved here many years earlier, and was known to everyone as Lotta. Which is fine unless your surname is Beaver. How can you possibly respond in a seemly manner when introduced to someone whose name is Lotta Beaver?