Manners maketh man.
Manners. Or lack thereof.
I seem to live in a city full of bad mannered oiks. What happened and when did it happen? Why are people so ill mannered? What happened to thoughtfulness and good grace? Are people really so gauche that they do not know how to behave?
Clearly they are. So here are some useful city living rules to adhere to-
1-Thank you. It costs nothing! If I hold the door open for some old woman-as I did for my harpy neighbour yesterday- why did she not smile and say thank you? Why did she shuffle through it and proceed on her decrepit way with nary a muttered appreciation? Would she like it if I had let the highly sprung door snap back and knock her back across the foyer like a skittle, I hope she does, because that is exactly what I am going to do next time she comes down behind me. Also for the ladies, if a man holds a door open for a woman, he is not saying, 'pathetic feminazi, look how strong and forceful I am, how inferior you are!' He is simply being well mannered, like he should be. Smile and say thank you.
2-Be observant! If I see an elderly or pregnant person on public transport and they have nowhere to sit I always offer my seat. What I do not do is fiddle with my iPod, keep reading or pretend I cannot see them. How can you not see a heavily pregnant woman, it would be like pretending not to see a manatee standing there. Offer the seat! Maybe you will be lucky and they will say no.
3- Sidewalk shuffle. If there is a moment of 'oh you go that way, no left, no your left oh..' on the pavement, there had better be a quick smile, a brief muffled 'excuse me' before we maneuver our way past. Don't tut. Tutting might get a high-heel in the foot.
4- Time keeping. If you make an appointment with anyone, be it a friend or not, turn up on time! It is not difficult and it stops the other person thinking what a ill mannered dipshit you are.
5- If you are a filthy smoker, try not to blow it into people's faces. I don't bring up phlegm and spit on you now, do I?
6-Supermarkets. You have a trolley full of groceries, the person behind has a packet of biscuits and a box of teabags. Let them go first.
7- Dogs. You might like your dog, I might like your dog, but I don't like your dog's feces on my Jimmy Choos. Clean up after your bloody dogs, unless you live in Paris. For some reason it seem to be perfectly accecptable to allow your dog to crap where it wishes there.
8-Children. Children are beastily in public because the little things think they have their parents over a barrel. If one is throwing a tantrum and screaming the place down, try not to glare at the parents as though they were sticking hot pokers up the child's rectum. That only makes the parents stressed and children can sense stress like sharks can smell blood in the water. On the flip side, parents, not everyone thinks your child is adorable, and if it is throwing a hissy fit and you can not get it to stop, remove child from ear shot of other people. Bribe or threaten it quietly, or whatever it is parents do with small children, but do not disturb everyone else for ages.
9-Coughing-sneezing. Cover your mouth, use a hanky/hand/sleeve/your newborn. Whatever, just cover your mouth.
10-Mobile phones. Unless it is an emergency, don't use them. I am the only person I know that does not own a mobile phone. And yet I exist, I am never late, I can function. I do not get lost/can buy tickets/meet up with friends/survive. It really is not that difficult.
I realise there are countless other irritants, I know people who grow weepy because shopkeepers will not hand them their change into their hands. To them I say stand there with your hand outstretched and keep the same patient expression. I have broken many a shopkeeper out of that habit. Don't forget to say 'Thank you' when they pick the change up and place it into your palm.