My name is Andrew Colin. Andrew is the Anglicised version of my Swedish grand-father’s name Andreas, and Colin is my English grandfather’s name. One could object to the lack of imagination that my parents had, but that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about. What I wanted to talk about is naming customs, and the funny fact that people that only see my full name on a piece of paper insist on trying to call me Andrew.

Swedish doesn’t really have the custom of a ‘first name’. It has a custom of ‘address name’, and the ‘address name’ can be any of the names that appear in the first name field. Thus, I’m a Colin, and not an Andrew. Or Andy. My sister’s name was Mary Elizabeth, but her address name was Elizabeth. Or Ellie. Nobody called her Elizabeth, except when mum was cross with her.

“Andrew, is it?” The person behind the desk said to me when I came in to talk to him about my Extended Project. He’s part of the panel that’s going to hear my oral argument about it. We had to meet so that I would get information about what would happen during the argument. And for a few seconds there I became an Andrew rather than a Colin, because of this naming custom.

I’m not too sure I like being an Andrew. I’ve grown used to being a Colin over the years, you know. I suppose that for laughs I could have been an Andrew for the twenty minutes that the meeting lasted, and only told him after. But I think that wouldn’t have been so smart, considering he’s part of a group that’s going to give me a Judgement on my project.

***

After school I met Mark down in the town centre, and we had a cruise through the clothes racks. The man needs some underwear, but we didn’t find any new stuff that he liked, so before going home we sat down for tea in one of the coffee shops, and then I gave him the card and the sweets.

I mean, this is of course Valentine’s, and of course on Valentine’s you have to give the person you’ve lived with for a year and a half a little token of appreciation, because if you don’t buy the silly card and the sweets, it would be totally unknown to him that I love him. Right?

After the tea we went home, and once home there were the dishes to do that we didn’t do this morning, and after doing those my man started cooking and made me Swedish style pan-cakes, which I love. And isn’t that a loving gesture, giving me pan-cakes? If it’s not, then I don’t know what is.

***

People also expect me to have an opinion about the soon to be ex-Benedict XVI and his abdication. Shouldn’t I be happy that he’s gone? All I can think about that is ‘good riddance’, but it’s not like I expect anything to improve with the next one. Even if, as some on the left around here want, the Vatican finally elect an African, or even just a non-European, pope, nothing will change. In fact, if we get a South American or African pope, the rhetoric against women, LGBT, and whoever the Vatican don’t like will increase.

Those candidates are raised in cultures where the RCC have a much more hard-line stance, and they will have elbowed their way to the top of that part of the church. No, things will not improve, so I shrug and think that the RCC will continue to become more and more irrelevant to the lives of the West while building their strength in the third world. Often building that strength will mean adopting policies that will be anathema to us squishy westerners.

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