Archive for January 6th, 2011

January 6th, 2011

We’re all strangers here

Posted in The Job - General by 200

I was out socialising this week when I happened to bump into someone who used to live in my street. I’ve known her since she was a child, well actually I don’t know her as such, I know of her. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to her & I can’t recall her name. I know her parents to say hello to but I’ve never had more than a two minute conversation in the street in passing with either of them.

I know the people on my side of the road, either side for a few houses & I know the people on the opposite side of the road for a few houses either side. I know their names, I have conversations with them, I’ve been in their houses & they in mine.

When I was a kid we knew everyone in the street. If ever we got in any trouble whoever’s parents were the nearest dished out the punishment. There was something in the saying that it takes a mother to have a child but a village to bring it up (or something like that, I can’t remember the exact phrase & don’t have time to Google it).

Of course now things are very different. I think I’m unusual in that I know a dozen or more neighbours quite well. I don’t think most people do, at least most people who call on the services of the police.

A large percentage of social problems, anti-social behaviour, disrespect of people’s rights & needs, stems from the fact that is easier to do something negative to someone if you don’t know them. How many times do we rant down the phone at some innocent customer service rep who has done nothing to cause the problem we complain about but has to take the full force of our anger & frustration? Would we talk to them in the same way if we happened to know that they were the person who lives next door who we had a meal with last week?

I get it all the time in the control room; the sarcastic comments, the couldn’t-care-less responses, the can’t-be-arsed attitudes all come from people on different shifts. The people I work with who know me & whom I know are far more respectful. For all I know some of them they may be similarly sarcastic when they have controllers from shifts they don’t normally work with & I guess, to support my view then I’d say they probably are.

It’s easier to call the police on someone you don’t know. It’s easier to tell someone you don’t know to fuck off.

What went wrong that we suddenly stopped speaking with each other?