She paused for a moment and tried not to roll her eyes. Good grief, I had only introduced myself and asked her name, and it was an Order of Logogustation holiday cocktail mixer, after all. But when she replied, I understood her apprehension.
“Wendy Raey. R-A-E-Y. Friends call me ‘Wen’ for short.” She pursed her lips tightly and looked around at the decorations, which covered Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and, yes, New Year. “Yes, before you ask, yes, yes, I’m happy. At least as long as I’m not asked yet again whether I am. Or whether I’m yppah.”
Oh dear. She was in the wrong place with a name like that.
“And yes,” she continued, “I have seen the movie The Last Seduction, in which a character who likes New York and backwards writing makes up ‘Wendy Kroy’ as an alias. And I could live the rest of my life without ever hearing again the song ‘Everyone Knows It’s Windy’ by The Association.” (Actually, the title of the song is just “Windy,” but I was not going to point that out.) “Or any pun on ‘Wen.'”
Wow, was she in the wrong place.
I opened my mouth to say something. Before I could, she leapt in.
“Yes, my parents were fans of J.M. Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan. Yes, I know that he invented the name ‘Wendy’ a scant hundred-five years ago for that play, and that it was inspired by a nickname a child acquaintance of his gave him: ‘Fwendy-Wendy.’ Yes, I know that’s reduplication, which in English serves to imitate childish talk or to give rhythm or emphasis. Well, fuddle-duddle, as Pierre Trudeau said.”
“So,” I ventured hesitantly, “how are you liking the party?”
“So-so,” she said. She held up her drink. “Nice mai tai.” She paused. “Some weather, huh?”
“Not too cold,” I said, “but a bit… uh. …Breezy.”
A small smile twitched at one corner of her mouth. “Thanks.” She raised her glass and began to move on. Pausing for a moment, she tossed a Parthian shot over her shoulder: “…Everyone knows it is. It’ll improve, but who knows when?” And, turning away again and walking away, she added “Happy you-know-what.” And off she went to her next victim.