Reading (into) the phone book

No, I'm not waiting for the next Stephen King.

Still doing data entry at work. Manually inputting the Puerto Rico phone directory into our system. I don't know why we can't just buy a database from someplace or other. But at least it keeps me from talking to customers, and that's a good thing. A few observations, however:

But more seriously, it's interesting to note that almost everybody there uses compound family names. Interesting to see the weird connections between families that might not be noticed other than with such a large and constant stream of information. It's also odd seeing how close together they stay. Several people with the same set of last names, and hence likely related, will live very closely to each other. Things get really interesting, though, when I'm sleep-deprived, near hallucinations from the fluorescent lights sucking my life away, and just plain feeling bitchy at having to be there. The phone book is obvious ripe material for my own twisted little Spoon River Anthology . I can't wait to find out why Zuleica's sister hates Consuela so much. And then there's the snippets of my random thoughts that slip into my typing every once in a while when I'm not paying attention. I hope I caught myself every time, otherwise people will have some weird addresses.

But back to the names and proximity, I'd gotten to thinking those are two things that are kind of lost in most of Western culture. The kids move away as far and fast as they can, and single family names don't convey much background information. The girls usually completely drop their maiden name, and take the husband's. Kind of struck me, considering I'm doing my best to stay away from my relatives, and intend to change my name. There's a sort of familial connection there that I just don't understand. All this makes me wonder what my own name change might really signify.