Maybe I’m annoyed too easily. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending a lot of time travelling, which throws me into airport line-ups and mass exoduses between gates. But I can’t help asking why do people have to be so oblivious?

A couple of weeks ago, I had to walk on many moving sidewalks at San Fran’s airport because, of course, my plane was delayed. I had to switch gates. Do you know how many clueless people I had to ask—I bit my lip and remained polite.—to move over? The sign clearly says: stand right, walk left. I was met with such surprise that I actually wanted to walk rather than lounge on the sidewalk.

Or how about the ridiculous people who stop dead in their tracks right after getting off an escalator? How can they not have grasped the concept that they should move to the side since, yes, other people are also trying to get off at the very same place? Maybe those human pylons are all preoccupied in their own little worlds. Although how can they not be aware of the crowds around them, often slamming into them?

That brings me to the body check. When did it become ok (blocked escalator aside) to use physical force to get past people? That approach was used on me in the airport bookstore. Sure, I’ve felt provoked enough to try it myself. But I have this thing called restraint. And a voice. “Pardon me” works wonders; perhaps it has shock value – so few people use that phrase.

I happily recognize it’s not only my accent that distinguishes me as Canadian: it’s my ability to say “please.” That word, from what I can tell, does not exist in most Americans’ vocabulary. (I’m saying “most.” Don’t want to offend my polite American friends.) The phrase “Can I getta….” is the replacement. Or “I’ll have this. Thank you.” Kudos for the latter attempt, but shouldn’t you thank someone only once you receive something? I suppose that’s a technicality. Any rare attempt at politeness should be applauded.

Call me silly, but I think manners should be taught, along with all the other life skills, like awareness of your environment, which is another thing so many of the herd seem to be lacking. Thanks mom and dad for teaching me.

(I also recognize that I have to stop travelling so much for work. Each trip prompts an annoyed post from me.)


About gwenamon

bookworm, confidante, creative director, cyclist, global wanderer, music lover, shutterbug, shoe shopper, snowboarder, writer, yoga geek. i'm also a very proud mama of a lil mister named james.
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One Response to Manners

  1. Holly says:

    Having lived in the U.S. for about three years now, I find myself communicating with a lot fewer of the Canadian niceties. I think the difference is that Americans are much more direct in what they want so they say “I want that” whereas Canadians are more “Excuse me. Can I please get the…”. At this point, the American person would be zoned out and thinking “Get to the point. What do you want?”.

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