Manners Cost Nothing. Reconstructive Surgery, Not So Much.

People are rude aren’t they? Doesn’t really need to be a question, let’s try it as a statement: people are rude aren’t they. They bloody well are. Nearly everyone is the centre of the universe, the pivotal role in their own self indulgent play, and all those other people are white noise, an irritation, inconsequential. Obviously, we all raise ourselves above those around us, one has to be with ones self at all times so it is only natural that we consider ourselves more important. Without ourselves we would be nothing, we wouldn’t eat, wash or, well, exist. So it does make sense. But really, couldn’t we be less of a dick about it.

I got on the bus after work today, all tired and that. I looked around, and on spotting a spare seat next to a stocky gent, I sat myself down next to him. The first thing that became apparent was the distinct and individual aroma that wafted from him, a combination of stale and fresh sweat, and whatever he had last eaten. Some of which he was wearing, like a medal. Now, the smell was unpleasant enough, and such was the volume of passengers that I couldn’t even turn to my right to gulp down the comparatively fresh air, due to there being several arses grazing my forehead, but there was more. The man was taking up most of both seats, leaving me only half of one to try to balance most of one buttock on. It wasn’t an easy task, so I felt justified in asking my portly travelling companion if he could move up a little. He looked at me, smiled, and simply continued to be fat. He may have even spread out a little bit more, but I can’t be sure. What an arse. I mean what an arse.
Personally, I hope that in the future he finds himself – having walked many, many miles through becoming hopelessly lost – in a suspicious and creepy rural pub, moaning about how his legs hurt because of all the walking. And on hearing his grumblings, I hope a gnarly, possibly inbred local smiles at him, turns to pick something up, and smashes his legs to dust with a crowbar.
That’s a recent example, but it’s everywhere. Not visually or verbally acknowledging a door being held open. Not holding a door open. Not being aware of your surroundings, which include other people. Not moving out of the way for someone. Being overly surly or short with someone for no reason and without explanation. Pushing into queues. Swearing around children. Treating retail staff like scum, even if they are scum. Treating retail customers like morons, even though they usually are. Spitting, especially in a crowd, because that can very easily go on my face. These are all things that can easily be avoided or modified, in order to not be judged an awful bastard. I must admit to committing a few of these crimes, but I feel I do try to measure them, I am aware that it is happening and I try to act and adjust, moving among other people without accidental or unnecessary impoliteness.
I’m not talking about being sycophantically nice to every soul. Hell no. What I’m advocating is a general decency when mixing with the public, in towns and parks, when shopping or playing. Just try not to be a prick when there are unassuming strangers about, or in fact, if they’re assuming. Actually, especially if they’re assuming, cos that’ll show ’em. You can carry on being poisonous to that colleague you loathe, you’re being forced to keep their company. You can swing from mood to mood around those that know you, that understand you, those who have an inkling about how to deal with the wide variety of tools you can be. But if you should find yourself being served by a stupid, unhelpful oik, be sickeningly friendly. Should the customer you are unable to help become aggressive or patronising, appear calm and level headed, even though once they’ve gone you’ll be inventing new words to describe your hatred toward them. I’d stick to the old words to describe it, they’re better. Be aware of families, of the elderly, of everyone. Hold the door open. And if it is held open for you, say thank you. Or smile and nod. Or grunt your satisfaction.

Oh, and should you be a chubby, putrid commuter, either move the fuck up or at the very least apologise for your girth. Otherwise next time, I shall smash your legs in with a crowbar.

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