Now I’m aware, as I begin this post, that this one is going to come across as very GOW [Grumpy Old Woman], but I’m going ahead with it anyway. Is my perception somehow skewed, or am I correct in noticing that general politeness, manners and consideration are on the decline? Could it be my heightened sensitivity due to becoming a geriatric? [most senses become rather more dull as one progresses towards expiry, don’t they?] Perhaps in the previous life of gainful employment [gainful to me financially rather than in any other respect] I was too knackered to notice anything much at all.
Back in the hazy mists of time there used to be a sitcom called ‘Citizen Smith’, starring Robert Lindsay as a young, urban anarchist type attempting to change the world. Faced with anyone whose behaviour he disapproved of he’d write their name in a notebook and promise, ‘Come the revolution, they’d be up against the wall’. I can often find myself sympathising with his ideals. Whether a recent phenomenon or not, there are glaring and unacceptable behaviours out there in society, in all spheres. This is just a random selection of them.
Yacking shop assistants.
This is ignorant. They gas to each other while they are serving you, failing to even so much as look your way as they pass your change. Pointed and loud ‘thank yous’ rarely have any effect. I’ve experienced this in supermarkets, small shops, cafes and bars.
Two or more people are walking along a pavement together, side by side. They are coming towards you. The width of the pavement does not allow for more than two. What happens? They continue to walk towards you as if you were invisible, causing you to flatten yourself against the wall or step into the road to avoid being trampled underfoot. Nothing ever induces anyone to walk single file to enable someone to pass. And similarly…
Where only one column of traffic may access the road due to parked cars etc it is polite to wait. Most do not wait. If you are the waiting car, how often does anyone wave their thanks? Then there are the people who push into a queue uninvited, or drive across a ‘keep clear’ box and sit there, studiously looking ahead to avoid your wrath.
Shouting on mobile phones [often explicit details of sexual exploits], screeching to accompanying passengers, throwing rubbish on the floor-these are the least offensive activities on the bus. Worse are actual assaults. I’ve been fortunate so far not to experience too much of this but know those who have.
Sailing through a held door and ignoring the kind holder of it, bullishly pushing through and letting it swing back in the next person’s face etc etc. You know what I mean.
The Cinema.[or theatre, or concert-any performance really]
Eating noisily [and malodorously], chattering, commenting, shrieking, talking on mobile phones, wearing big hats, putting feet up on back of seats.
All of the above plus reclining the seat back as far as it will go so it squeezes the person in front to a pulp, spreading out over everyone else’s seat [and both armrests].
Trolley wars. Need I say more?
There’s no room in the curriculum for etiquette lessons. In any case the rudiments need to be learned before the onset of school. So come on Mums and Dads, ‘teach your children well’ [Crosby, Stills and Nash]. You’ll be doing them [and us!] a big favour.