(Not) Introducing ‘Rachell Mitchell’
As many of you know, I was born Rachel Mitchell Macwhirter. I’m one sentence into this post and I’m already interrupting myself to point out that ‘Macwhirter’ has a red line on it to indicate it’s not the right word and that feels so fitting. Though I’ve been going by Rachel Mitchell for well over a year, I only got the chance to get down to the department of Births, Deaths and Marriages to submit my application for a name change in August.
“August?” You say. “That’s good, it should be well on its way to being processed by now.”
I mean, it should. It would be had I actually been able to submit it in August.
It went like this: having already skipped out on going to the city as planned for two Thursdays in a row (Thursday being one of my sister’s days off from uni, and how could I go adventuring in the city without my sister?) due to fatigue and bad weather, I dragged my sorry legs out of bed at something like 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning.
After quickly stopping by the post office for eBay reasons, Bec and I traipsed over to the station and hopping on a train a hair past ten A.M. The sun was shining brightly and each of us had plans for the day. We were excited for a long, enjoyable day of Getting Things Done.
The train ran on time (without cancellations! Woah!) and deposited us at Southern Cross Station a few minutes shy of midday. We stopped by the ladies room and maybe five minutes later embarked on the two minute walk to the BDM building. By that time of day there was a whole throng of people but it didn’t slow us down all that much.
Now, Bec had gone and gotten her name change processed quite early in the year. She did warn me that it would be a better idea to get there just after opening time as it would be quiet and nearly empty. It’s not that I didn’t believe her, but I figured there were worse things in the world than having to wait in line. I’d had trouble getting up that day anyway, so we pretty much got there as early as we could. Or as early as I could, I suppose.
At the BDM, one has to get a ticket from a machine at the front to secure a place in the queue. It’s one of those simple machines where the screen presents you with a bunch of reasons you could be there and you mash your finger against the correct one. There was exactly one person in front of us in line to use the fingermash machine. She hit something on the screen that we did not see, accepted her ticket, then remained in front of the machine frowning at it. I was about to ask if something was the matter when she sighed and walked out. Bec and I both thought that was strange but hey, we didn’t know her life, right?
I stepped up to the machine, selected ‘change of name’ and accepted my ticket. I learned why the lady in front of us was nonplussed. The ticket pleasantly (read: dickishly) informed me that change of name applications are not accepted after midday. The time was 12:05.
We did everything we could to rectify the situation. That is to say, we walked out disappointed and grumbling. The woman who’s been similarly disappointed just before us asked if we were walking out for the same reason. I won’t repeat exactly what she had to say, but the word ‘bullshit’ might’ve come up.
So there we were, my sister and me. Two hours away from home with the primary reason for trekking to the city decisively flushed down the bad-timing toilet. After damning many a happenstance right the fuck to hell, we came to the conclusion that to get back at the universe we had to enjoy the shit out of the rest of the day.
Not without grumbling, we trudged to the nearest Starbucks. When you live as far out as us, that’s an unusual treat. Despite the cold, we each ordered soy milk frappes – hazelnut for me, caramel for Bec. Gosh, they were cold, but gosh, they were nice. I won’t bore you with the rest of details of what turned out to be a pretty great day for us but a pretty boring story. Shout-out to Lord Of The Fries for the great vegan nuggets and fries with vegan mayonnaise, though.
It wasn’t until the 24th of September that we had another chance to venture out again. Now, you may be asking why I didn’t just go by myself, being a Real Live Adult and all. I figured if I had to go to the city, which I can’t do very often with my energy levels, I might as well hang out with my sister at the same time. Turns out I need my babysitter.
This time, we left nothing to chance and got into the city shortly before 9AM. Or shortly after. In the vicinity of 9AM. The train did get itself cancelled on the way but we ran to another platform and probably didn’t lose too many minutes.
The thing that shocked me the most about getting to the BDM so early was how sleepy it was. There were maybe three or four other people waiting there. In fact, there were more employees than customers. This was in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of midday the month before. I grabbed the forms to fill out, but as there were two lines for given names I wanted to check whether to write ‘Rose’ just after a space next to ‘Rachel’, or on the next line.
About two minutes later we were called to the counter and the man working there explained that middle names were to be written on the same line. I took the form back to write ‘Rose’ and- oh my god did i really just write ‘rachell’.
Had I not decided to double check how I was supposed to write my middle name, in a few weeks I’d be getting a letter in the mail confirming my new identity as Rachell Mitchell. Pretty sure I almost died on the spot.