I’ve lived in my suburb just over a year now, long enough that I’m getting to know the local Bentleigh shops a bit more now, and a few of the shopkeepers know me.
For instance, the drycleaner lady recognises me, though like a TV news captioner, she misspells my name, and I can’t be bothered to correct it. So as far as she’s concerned, I’m Mr Bowan. (It’s a pretty good attempt given English is not her first language.)
One of the local restaurants Marita and I have been eating regularly has changed hands and re-launched, better than ever. The old owner was almost legendary for greeting us in what was a somewhat fawning manner. The new people recognise us too, though there’s rather less of the fawning, which was almost starting to get uncomfortable.
Now I think about it, apart from a friend who is sometimes working behind the counter at the railway station, and my sister (who runs the local traders’ association), they might be the only shopkeeper-types that really recognise me so far.
Most of the other shops are too busy, and my visits too infrequent to become known. Not like in my old neighbourhood, Glen Huntly, where I’ve been going to the same barber for ten years, and the guy who used to ran the newsagent giggled like a schoolgirl when he mentioned he’d seen me on the telly.
Not that it really matters. Even if they don’t recognise me, I’ve now got a feel for what shop is where. All part of settling into a new neighbourhood.