Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Lost Art of Manners

Went for a drink after work in The Engineer yesterday. M ordered my usual drink for me and we sat down in the window seat. I enjoy sitting there as I can indulge in a spot of people watching. A lot of interesting things were going on - an elderly group of artists, a couple who pulled over in a car to argue, shake hands and drive off, several pregnant women, people on bikes, with dogs, with flashy (and not so flashy) cars. One man returned to check he'd locked his car three times, before heading down to the canal with his newspaper. So far, so normal for Primrose Hill. Most people were on their way home from work.

The loo in The Engineer is up a rather narrow set of stairs. There is room on the corner for people to pass each other. So, I had started down the stairs, stopped at the first landing and realised someone was coming up. Waited, waited and another six people all trooped past, starting up the stairs. Not one even made eye contact, let alone said thank you until I made eye contact with the last one, who thanked me. This is not a particularly interesting or noteable occasion. But it was the highlight in a long line of occasions. London is full of rather rude people - the ones that try and get onto the tube before you've got off, the people that push into the bus rather than wait their turn, those that flash their cash at the bar to try and get served first. Where is the English sense of knowing who was first? And why can't people be polite? Ok, rant over.

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