Is “Manners Consulting” A Business Opportunity?

These days have passed by in a bubble and apart from observing never-was fashionistas and watching Herr Meow The Weed grow and amass an impressive vocabulary that is bilingual in its bilinguality (more on that later), I haven’t had much of a chance to step into the DC streets and be bowled over with the curious mix of extreme politeness and utter rudeness and cheek that is our nation’s capital.

Okay.  I haven’t had much of a chance to tell you about it, really.  Until now.

________

I was reading OC Girl’s blog on the common courtesy of yielding seats to those who need them being dead or just passé, and it made me think about all the things that seem to be dead all around us– only to be replaced by awkward pauses and silence. 

For instance, yesterday I received the newest J. Crew catalog and I actually drooled on it from cover to cover. 

It’s a sparkling piece of advertising, and it made me lust after sweaters and boots and coats all the more.  Let’s face it: summer is slowly doing the second act dying swan dance and it goen’ git cooooohd, y’all. Not that you need me to point out the obvious, but I bet you could use some creamy cashmere sweaters and a wool blend coat with Thinsulate, so you can be chic AND warm (nothing sadder than a well-dressed person with pneumonia).

Seeing all those cute and skinny models parading themselves around with chic and panache made me realize, though, that most people who do not have a personal assistant or a stylist (myself very much included) just do not try hard enough.  Whatever happened to the times of old where women wouldn’t be caught dead without gloves, lipstick, and a pretty hat on, and when men always wore hats and knew the proper way to use them –as in, you remove the things before you enter a building, you eternally-baseball-capped morons!  We live in sad and frumpy times people.  I am not demanding that everyone shop above their means or wear impractical things like lace gloves or ascot ties, but can’t we just try –as a city, perhaps?– to get past wearing flip-flops with everything and rumpled jeans always?

(You don’t have to iron your clothes to look unrumpled.  Justsmooth them out when they come out of the dryer, gents.  It makes a lovely difference!)

_________

I realize I’m in the whiny breeding camp when I bring this up, but I must debate this point of common courtesy cum common sense (would that be easier with a portmanteau like common sensery or something?) when walking down the street.

Do you see those ramps on sidewalks, ye people who are able-bodied and are not overburdened by a wheeled cart of some sort?

Those ramps are not designed to shave fifteen seconds off your mad dash to Eastern Market Metro.

I know.  Shocking.  The world doesn’t revolve around you either– and don’t you shoot the messenger.

They are actually designed so people with wheelchairs, strollers, and those grandma-frumpy yet-oh-so-functional grocery carts can have an easier time getting around.  So when you see someone with a wheeled apparatus aiming to use a ramp, kindly step around them and use the sidewalk.  I know: it’s really that simple, although it does take forethought and an extra 15 seconds.

You don’t need a ramp.  Be grateful and keep walking.

_______

Dear indigent person who walks the alley at around two a.m.,

Kindly stop throwing empty bottles around and making so much noise, man.
These bottles make a disturbing noise and have awakened me twice this week already –and it’s only Wednesday.
If you hang on to those bottles, you can make a fortune off the recycling redemption value.

Oh.  What’s that?  We’re not in a cool state that has redemption value for recyclables?  Hmm… go figure.
Still.  I’d appreciate it if you stopped, and I’m sure someone is willing to pay money for that stuff.

______

Yield ≠ merge
Left Turn Only lane ≠ your personal merging lane
No turn signal = No letting your rude-person butt in
Flashing RED light = Stop, then proceed with caution
Flashing RED light ≠ "Let’s see who can get faster to the intersection!"
Flashing YELLOW light = Proceed with caution.
Flashing YELLOW light ≠ "The road is mine, bitches"
Flashing YELLOW light ≠ Stop.  Go.  Gooo….ssttttooopp!!! GO!
Pedestrians ≠ Bumper fodder (unless jaywalking in high-traffic area)
The bird = always a humbling experience coming from an elderly woman.

_______

I know that chivalry is dead these days, and that it is a silly double standard to expect the man always to open the door for the woman.

HOWEVER!

Opening doors for other people –especially those burdened by parcels, appliances, or a stroller and diaper bag– is actually nice and civilized.  You are expected to be civilized when in civilization, so get with the program.  And FYI: the genital thing doesn’t matter.  Doors aren’t usually heavy:  you can hold them open for a few seconds.

I could have burst into tears when a host of nice Red line passengers made sure to hold the door open so my stroller and those of my two friends could make it without resorting to gymnastics.  Wherever you are, nice commuters, please know that you made me dare to trust in my fellow man (and woman) again.

_______

Speaking about the Metro, please remember that the people coming OUT are supposed to do so before the people come IN because otherwise the train becomes unnecessarily crowded and the "Ding-Ding-Ding-Dong" starts going crazy and then the "Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee" that tells you someone is blocking the doors becomes comically furious and people waste time and get upset and call Metro sucky and slow and refuse to ride and their revenue is lost and things go to pot.

So remember, kids: that’s another politeness bit.

People coming OUT of a building/closet/enclosure/Metro car/elevator have the right of way (it’s your chance, Senator Craig!!) and people coming IN should defer to them.

And, lest we forget, people going UP the stairs also have the right of way and those coming DOWN need to defer (since usually they can see where they are going and gravity is on their side).

_______

Go forth with a smile on your face and remember that while the world is still full of rude and self-important people who seem engaged in endless races to put you and everything about you down, you can still make a difference in one life by being kind and smiling.

Don’t knock the cheesiness until you’ve tried it.

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This entry was published on August 29, 2007 at 3:00 pm and is filed under Schoolmarmish. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

8 thoughts on “Is “Manners Consulting” A Business Opportunity?

  1. oooh…a mention in your blog. i’m feeling the warm fuzzies! thank you!
    also, thank you for making me laugh hysterically at the following line (and for making me the receiving end of curious stares from my cube-mates): People coming OUT of a building/closet/enclosure/Metro car/elevator have the right of way (it’s your chance, Senator Craig!!)
    and i can’t get over how perfect your final point was (not the cheesiness…the one right before). this was a fabulous metro rules/common courtesy post!

  2. “Yield ≠ merge
    Left Turn Only lane ≠ your personal merging lane
    No turn signal = No letting your rude-person butt in
    Flashing RED light = Stop, then proceed with caution
    Flashing RED light ≠ “Let’s see who can get faster to the intersection!”
    Flashing YELLOW light = Proceed with caution.
    Flashing YELLOW light ≠ “The road is mine, bitches”
    Flashing YELLOW light ≠ Stop. Go. Gooo….ssttttooopp!!! GO!
    Pedestrians ≠ Bumper fodder (unless jaywalking in high-traffic area)
    The bird = always a humbling experience coming from an elderly woman.”
    Can I use this? Please? I drive in Los Angeles and people REALLY don’t seem to know this stuff.
    I’ve recently discovered your blog (via MotherTalk) and this is my first comment – so, hello!

  3. I give up seats on the bus all the time. It used to be, people I did it for wouldn’t always know how to take it, and everyone on th bus wold give me odd looks.
    I ride the same bus every day, and have done so for a year now. Giving up seats now happens on a pretty regular basis, and not by me alone.
    I did my part. 🙂

  4. Wow. You have done your part. I can’t rant like that any more! You’re really good. Thanks for holding up the standards of kindness and consideration.

  5. I definitely agree that we are on our way to becoming a classless society. I always try to look my best when stepping out at night, to run errands and especially for work. When I fly, I always wear “business casual”, no jeans. I probably have a very strict set of standards for my personal grooming and dress, but it pays. People DO treat and respond to you differently when you look decent and presentable.
    Also having class and dressing sharp does not equate to snobbery. Frankly, I don’t consider myself better than anyone else.
    It’s pretty apalling to see how many people these days just do not care how they look or act in public.

  6. florinda–as a californian who used to live in l.a. (granted not living in cali anymore but still), you should know that we treat traffic lights as suggestions.
    green = drive fast
    yellow = drive even faster
    red = who? me? not if that cop can’t catch me…

  7. This is such the rant I would have done today…but I wouldn’t have done it justice the way you did.
    Not opeining doors and then letting them slam in the face of the person behind you…love that one.
    I’ll add to that list the jackasses park on the bike lanes, especially the one in the fancy car who left his warnings on while he got out to kiss someone hello. I yelled at him and planned to key his car, but he was gone 5 minutes later when I got back armed with a key.

  8. cristina on said:

    With respect to “manners consulting” being a business opportunity, I refer you to
    http://etiquetteconsulting.com/prgm2.htm
    ciao!

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