The lady told me she saw a coyote and then I didn’t hear anything else she said. She said it like it was just two syllables, the first of which rhymed with joy. It disturbed me. It temporarily disrupted my ability to have any further exchange with her. I know. It’s weird. What can I tell you? All I could do was fade out and watch her mouth moving. I carried on a different conversation inside my head.
“She just said coy-oat.
What the hell is going on?
I think she’s Hispanic.
She doesn’t have any other accent.
Maybe it’s her one word that she likes to say with an accent.
Like the guy on NPR?
She went on to tell me that she thought the coy-oat had killed her cat. She was sad about it and while usually I feel sympathetic to this sort of thing, I was thrown. It was the sort of conversation you have occasionally when, once it’s over, you think, I don't know what just happened but I hope I said the right thing and behaved well.
People mispronounce my name all the time. They say Deedra or Deardree or Deedree. Sometimes they just say fuck it and call me a whole different name like Desiree or Deardorfer. Through my life history I've gone from being confused by this to being sad to being annoyed, feeling like the person was lazy or mean, and judging him because of it. Now I'm mostly indifferent. Although I never give my real name at coffee places. Maybe it's because of this I am stumped at all other mispronunciations.
The coyotes in my neighborhood come out at night and trot down the middle of the street like the cool kids in high school. They yip and howl so you know that they are there. They kill small animals and hide all the evidence. Occasionally the pack will break up and one will stand alone in someone's yard waiting. When they see a pet they say "Hey there little kitten, what's happenin? I'm just a wild and wounded animal. Come on, we can be buddies". Then the cat or the little dog will go to them and they will play for a while until the coyote trots off, luring the little guy after him, leading him straight to the pack who is waiting down the hill with their saliva drenched fangs exposed.
I don’t think they care how anyone pronounces their name.