How many people remember your first name? The sad trend where none of us really know anyone.

April 3, 2012

There is no excuse not to wash your own car. None. How hard can it be?

Grab a bucket, some water, soapy stuff and a sponge. Apply all liberally. Bask in the glory of a job well done.

That’s what I would do, if I could muster the energy. Instead of forking over precious folding stuff to someone else.

Yes, I know. It’s incredibly lazy. Such a waste of money. I get it.

In my defence, the place I visit does a fine job. Quick too. And no annoying smudges.

It must be said, I don’t go there often. It’s quite a job to cut through the layers of dust and grime when I do.

But on these rare visits, the friendly bloke who seems to be in charge always remembers my name. Every time.

He even gives me a title. Mr David. He’s Indian, and as well as being a tip-top washer, he never forgets.

That’s in contrast to his client. Because I don’t know his.

He would deal with maybe thirty car owners a day. My money is on him calling every one of us by our first name. With a Mr or Mrs thrown in for good measure.

I have one person involved in a function that makes my car look nice. No-one else to confuse the issue. He even wears a badge. For the life of me, I can’t recall his handle.

There was a time when everyone knew your first name, and you theirs. The butcher, and the barber. Certainly the publican. In my case, the local copper.

Do you know your butcher’s name today? And Coles doesn’t count. Do you know anyone’s name at your favourite watering hole? I doubt it.

Write me a list of the names of all your neighbours. Next door, across the road, and over the back.

Forty years ago, Mum would have known all of them. And their kids. And their pets. Your parents would have too.

My list is almost bare. Only the neighbours to my right. I don’t know the others, and they don’t know me. We get by with the odd nod and a wave.

Life is busier. We all work long hours. People have so much on their plate. All the usual excuses.

Somewhere along the line, we lost contact. It didn’t seem so bad, because everyone else was doing it too.

In our streets, and in business. At some stage, we all slipped into accepting anonymity.

Well, enough of that. It’s time for changes. Everyone needs to fill their list. Put some names to faces. Even if it’s across the back fence.

I’m going to find some mud to drive through, so I can return to the car wash. I’ll find out his name soon enough. I might even put a Mr in front of it.