Overheard in the waiting room of a family-owned Italian hair salon in Northern New Jersey:
A young, pregnant woman sat in chair reading last month's People magazine with her mother next to her.
"You pick a name yet?" her mother asked in her heavy Italian accent, referring to her daughter's unborn child.
"I told you already, ma. We like Shane," the daughter replied with out glancing up.
"Shama?! You a gonna name my only garan-sun Shama? Like, 'I'm ashama you?'"
The daughter gave her an exasperated look, "No ma. SHAY-NNNN."
The mother threw her hands up, "I a no understand."
In what seemed like a rehearsed response, the daughter explained, "Ma, no Italian name goes with the last name of Shroeder. We just want something that sounds American and goes together. Anyways, everything worked out with our first one. You didn't like her name and now you love it."
Then the daughter looked at me, a perfect stranger caught in the cross-fire, and explained, "Our daughter's name is Mia and ma couldn't understand why we would name our child a pro-noun (the Italian word for "my"), but now she loves it because it goes so well with her middle name, Rose. So now when ma says her name, she's really calling her "My Rose."
I smiled politely, thinking the whole thing was very sweet. But I dare not choose a side.