Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The Name Game

Working the Indycar weekend from Mid-Ohio a couple days ago led me to an interesting thought as I was conversing with my co-starter Bryan. Mid-Ohio is a unique track at the start of the race because the start line is different from the finish line so one of us had to travel to the other stand. Anyway, as I got over there for the start of the Indy Lights race, I got on my radio box which serves as an intercom and said, "Bryan, can you hear me?" Why is this relevant? It was then that I realized I used a name.

Names are personal... too personal. In someone's presence I will not use a name. To get someone's attention I'll typically raise one hand halfway as if I'm about to say something to get a person's attention. If I'm behind a person, I'll wait for them to turn around before speaking so as to not have to say a name.

I've always been this way dating back to school. Using names is something I've always been afraid of and when I did my sunglasses experiment in 2010, I theorized that it's akin to eye contact in that it's the essence of someone's being and to try to comprehend that is too much information for my brain to handle. How then is it so easy to ask Bryan by name if he can hear me when we are half a track apart?

I learned to have a conversation via Xbox Live and racing people from around the world. I had no problem calling people by their screennames and eventually their real names as I got to know them and met them outside the virtual world. There too, when I met them in real life the usage of real names went away. As I write this, I'm now convinced more than ever that, for me, eye contact and usage of name is one in the same that it's too much info. Of course, with eye contact the info is processing the physical appearance and all the nonverbal cues that come with it, but there's also the look into the soul which is also exactly what a name does.

There are many people on a race weekend I'll say by name over the radios. This is easy for me and is done without thought. Those same people in person won't have their name spoken by me and it's awesome to finally understand this and to be able to tie the usage of names with the same system in place that makes eye contact difficult.

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