We’ve all been there: the receptionist at an hotel, the telephone enquiry, the customer services representative who barely looks up and says “and what was your name?” Why should my name have a past? I haven’t changed it: I’m not a part of a police witness programme or a pop musician travelling incognito. I know they mean “What name is the booking / purchase under” or similar but why can’t they say “What is your name?” “Please” would be a nice addition, but I suppose that is too many syllables. It grates like the announcements in the local airport, which invite us to “await in the departure lounge”; await what, exactly? Don’t they know the difference between wait and await? Silly question. I wonder if these truncations are borne from tweeting and texting, assuming the random casting off of words isn’t important, that we’ll all understand.
The last time I was asked “What was your name” I said “it was, and still is, Andrew Gold”. There was only the slightest twitch of a mascara’d eyebrow to show that she was thinking “pedantic old twat” but she said, “Room 401. Take the lift to the fourth floor and turn right. Have a nice stay with us”. What she meant was “and I hope the lift gets stuck.” Maybe she had a point.