I’ve always been able to remember car number plates. Ever since I was a kid. Our first family car, a yellow Mini: original A reg named Primrose. The Ford Anglia, which was forever breaking down: 1965 ice blue C reg that always looked a dirty white colour. The lime green Fiat 127: L reg and hideous, and it’s replacement, the black Fiat 127 with go faster stripes and twin exhaust (really) an S reg, and our first brand new car. And the list goes on. My first car, of course, lodged firmly in the databanks, an Austin 1100 (F reg) and my second, a Mini Metro (X reg). But I can remember all of them. My Ex-husband’s car, a friend’s first car, and every single car I’ve ever owned. It’s a lot.
Given that I can’t remember where I put my most recent cup of tea, or what happened yesterday, it seems strange that my brain should have a data slot for car registration numbers. I’m not a number person. After nearly 2 years I have no idea of my work mobile number, I don’t know my fiancé’s phone number and I struggle to remember the house number. So why this weird ability to recall car number plates that is no use to me – or anyone else? I have no idea. I wish I could wipe the databanks and replace them with something more useful, like remembering where I put my keys, or my phone, or what I was supposed to be doing instead of writing this blog…….
The young chirpy voice piped up a cheery ‘good morning’ on the packed train carrying a miserable load of – now ‘ex’ – holidaymakers from Gatwick Airport to Clapham, and onwards to London and who knows where, home.
I looked up in surprise. This was not the usual breed of grumpy ticket checker/issuer. This was someone making the best of his job, possibly even enjoying it. He was unusually verbose and clearly enjoyed interacting with the customers.
‘Good morning madam, may I see your ticket please? Excellent. Change at Clapham for Basingstoke, and have a pleasant day’
Amazingly, he was even offering to help anyone that might need it.
‘If you need assistance today ladies and gentlemen, I’m the handsome chap with the sandy hair and glasses. You can come and find me in one of the carriages’
That elicited a few smiles, a few sniggers. To me, it was wondrous to hear a cheerful voice in the grey London dawn. Refreshing to see people smiling, perhaps against their natural inclination, at that hour of the day.
I suspect if we were all a little more engaged, a little less preoccupied with our own troubles; if we were to do our jobs with more enthusiasm, and smile a bit more, then the world would be a better place. A smile is infectious. You can hear it in someone’s voice. It can turn a grey and miserable day into something a bit more positive, even if only for a while.
I wrote to the train company and asked them to thank Alex for cheering me up that morning. I don’t know if they passed the message on, but I hope so. Good on you Alex!