Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What is in a name

i was out to lunch (ha ha) with some lovely women today, and one of them told a story that really got me thinking.

Her daughter's boyfriend had kept their road plowed all last winter. One day, one of the two other people who live on the road caught the boyfriend and asked him and his girlfriend to dinner to thank them for keeping the road plowed.

When he got home and told his girlfriend, she said "did you finally catch their names?" "oops! nope, we will have to try and figure it out at dinner, they have to call each other by name at some point!" They couldn't even look up the other people's phone number to let the people know they were in fact able to make it to dinner, the boyfriend had to wait until he saw the man again in his driveway.

They attended the dinner and came away none the wiser. At no point during the visit and meal did the other couple call each other by name, or introduce themselves.

The story got me thinking about how few times we actually introduce ourselves these days. I went through my entire undergraduate degree meeting new people and never knowing their names, because you don't generally introduce yourself when you laugh at someone else's silly comment in class, and then once you have been sitting together for the whole semester, it seems a little late to ask their name. Most of these people I never saw again after that class was over, and a few I have finally discovered their name through the miracle of facebook when they have been tagged in someone else's picture.

I also realized that if someone came into my family's house and tried to figure out our names from how we refer to each other, they might have difficulties. We only refer to people by their real names in dire circumstances.

Sometimes I long for those days when you couldn't talk with someone unless you had been "properly introduced". At least them you could ask other people for more information about them, and not have to ask "Do you have any idea who I have been making out with all evening? Cause I have had tons of classes with him but it seems a bit late to ask him his name now, " just to get a reply of "I don't really know his name, but he was in my physics class first semester....."

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