Why Remembering Simple Names Causes Me Stress


Ah, making necessary appointments – medical, dental, gynecological, mammogrammatical … making these appointments can be so taxing on the nerves!

You ain’t heard nothin’ yet.

I called for my annual – – – –  appointment the other day.

At this particular office, there are two Kates. They both go by “Kate.” Not Katherine and Kate, or Kay and Kath, or Katie and Kat, just Kate and Kate.

And their last names are brutally similar too: Kate Andrews and Kate Andruson.

This is no big deal, of course. Except that both of them are known to answer the office phone.

They have the same cadence in their voices, the same formal, businesslike, singsong approach. It’s as though they have trained each other to sound alike. GrrrRRR!

I happen to have two different agendas with The Kates away from their jobs. With one of The Kates, I have a lovely friendship, with the other Kate it’s purely business. (Don’t you like me, Kate?)

If one of them answers the phone at their workplace, I have to figure out whose voice is whose and then determine what to say.

Should it be ‘all business’ with Kate, or a bit of business (and pleasure) with Kate ?

I called the other day, as I say, to make an appointment.

“Hello ..Abby!” answered Kate, enthusiastically. “How can I help you?” (Didn’t sound like the Kate I chum with.)

“Um, hi Kate,” I stammered. “I want to make an appointment to have my  – – – – checked?” I then proceeded to blather some nonsense that even I can’t remember. Appointment was made. I think I was more formal with that Kate than I intended to be. But my mission was complete. Phone call over.

Which Kate WAS it? I didn’t know. Not for sure.

A few days later I had to cancel the appointment. Kate answered.

“Why hi there, Ab!” said Kate. “Ab.” Yikes. Only one person in that office calls me that: Kate. But it didn’t sound like Kate! Now what to do? I became frazzled, spewed some nonsense about my inability to keep appointments. Kate was too kind to mention that I sounded flustered, confused, moronic.

Kate  inquired about my state of mind, the next day.

“Is Abby okay? Kate asked Kate. “I talked to her yesterday; she didn’t sound like herself.”

Kate answered: “I’m sure she’s fine, she’s just very busy these days.”

Well, Kate, thank you for being a good friend and ignoring my awkwardness and stupidity. And Kate? Thank you for caring.

All tallied, this was a wee ‘Daily Life’ Stress Bubble. “The Making Of An Appointment.” With two Kates, from one office, answering one phone!

Yet so easily solved. This stress bubble made me cackle like an buffoon, but it won’t happen again. Popped!

Next time I call this office, I will say, assertively, and with authority: “To Whom am I Speaking… Kate Andrews or Kate Andruson?”

As long I can remember whose last name is whose.


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 6:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. August 18th, 2012 | deb says:

    Stress when making an appointment is most likely very common. Most medical offices probably have more than one person answering the phone (lunch, vacation, etc). Whether the staff have the same name or different will have good and not so good benefits.

    Easy? Confusing?
    Easy: “Hello Kate, how are you today” – would be easy for people calling the office. …can’t get it wrong.
    Confusing: “Hi Kate, further to our conversation we began this morning, …” …other Kate may not be sure of the conversation, but a good staff member will figure things out quickly.

    Kate & Kate may not want surnames used for a reason; there are a lot of odd people out there; the less personal information the better.

    Perhaps it is easier to communicate via email, or in person, to reduce future stress!
    Good Luck!

  2. August 24th, 2012 | abby says:

    Deb: I do not enjoy use of the telephone. Wow big revelation there. Thanks for offering up a future stress bubble topic: using the telephone. (Where there are email options, I grab them, like candy.) Why is the telephone still used so predominately for medical appointments? Is anybody ever even reachable that way anymore? And isn’t email a better way to keep records of appointment date? (Can you see how much I prefer email.)

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