“Okay, we’re going to have to change her name.” Kelly looks very adamant and serious – she’s a fabulous straight man.
I run through the alternatives in my head. We have two Katie’s, two Jens, but no Rita; there’s no chance that we’ll confuse this girl’s name with another. In the time that I’ve been here, we’ve never had another girl with the same name, so it’s unlikely that she reminds Kelli of someone unpleasant.
“Why?” I venture, tentatively.
“Rita Skeeter,” Kelli says forcefully, as if it’s clear this is a major issue. I admit it: she’s lost me. She’s still staring at me, though, looking for the appropriately concerned response.
What can I do? I nod, naturally, of course, Rita Skeeter, definitely a problem. I am saved, though, by the fact that she wasn’t done after all; she was merely awaiting acknowledgment.
“That’s all I can think about when someone says her name. I just keep laughing. I can’t even look at her. You know who Rita Skeeter is, right?”
Uh-oh. Saved has very quickly become un-saved, and the wheels begin to turn. A little slowly, but there is motion there. Rita Skeeter does, somewhat, sound familiar.
“Yeah, of course, I’ve read all the Harry Potter books. That’s who you mean, right, the reporter?”
Kelli glows. Seriously, she looks ecstatic, and I, no doubt, look confused, as she hugs me in delight.
“Yes! Exactly! I was starting to think I was losing it. No one else knew what I was talking about.”
I laugh, slightly relieved to have reached the right conclusion and made Kelli fell a little better. “Hasn’t anyone else here read the books?” I ask, confused. Granted the sixteen-to-twenty-one-year olds with whom we work are not technically in Harry Potter’s demographic, but the books and movies all have received wide acclaim for their popularity with all age groups. Surely Kelli and I are not the only ones familiar with the series?
“No, that’s just it. Brian has seen all the movies. He still didn’t get it. I thought I had the wrong name, but I was so sure! Anyway, she needs a new name. I’m thinking ‘Petina’.”
‘Petina’? Is that better? Did Kelli really just suggest we start calling Rita ‘Petina’? It’s definitely going to be a fun night. I hope Rita has a sense of humor.