“Ah-roon-na” I practice the name carefully as it stumbles past my lips. “Ah-roon-na” I repeat.
He smiles at me and laughs “see, it’s not that hard, is it?” I look him in the eyes and smile back. I had gotten his name wrong about three times already and on the third time, I tried to shorten it to “Roon” or “Na”, any nickname possible so it would be easier for me to communicate with him. But when I did that, he protested against it, saying all I had to learn was a few extra syllables. Which I guess was true. So he offered to practice it with me, which I deemed as fair. If he was willing to practice with me all the while having patience, who was I to complain?
“Could I have three beers, please? Two Fosters and one John Smiths.”
That was Gerald, a fella who was lucky enough to be on the tills, unlike me and Ah-Roon-Na, who was at the back, pouring pint after pint mercilessly. Oh, and of course Guy who was labelled the veteran of drink pouring at this particular kiosk.
Anyway, I start pouring them like I was asked to. Most people don’t know this about pouring alcohol from a drought, but if you don’t tilt your cup to the side, the drink will develop some froth and it’ll take a while to settle before you can give it out. Something I forget from time to time, but try my best not to. People – especially football fans – get particularly rowdy if you ever do such a thing to them. They’d scream at you as if you were cheating them from a full pint. Which I guess that’s what it seemed like, but still… It was annoying at the best of times.
I catch Ah-Roon-Na pinning a name badge to his shirt, smiling haphazardly and turning his head towards me. “Look.” He says, so I do. He taps his name badge with his index finger proudly.
He looks at me in anticipation “Ah” his fingers skim the mid-section of his name “Roon” his smile widens across his face “Na”. His name is spelt ‘Aruna’ and honestly it is a beautiful name, it’s just hard for me to remember. Nevertheless, I do nod in appreciation because after all, it is always better to put letters to a name. “I promise you it’s not that hard, if you want, while we’re working, I’ll keep my name badge on so that you can see it.”
I’m not sure why he says this because I’m pretty sure that we’re supposed to be wearing our name badges 100% of the time. Regardless I do appreciate the sentiment and agree that would probably be best, if not for me to learn his name then for him not to get complained at by management.
And honestly, things are speeding up at front so if I really don’t remember his name I could probably shout “yo” or “hey” and give him a quick order. But I think I want to learn his name out of respect. Plus, he’s an incredibly nice guy.
“Okay, Ah-Roon-Na, let’s get to work then.”