11 December 2012

The tyranny and fun of good manners

There is a lot to be said for good manners.  Please.  Thank you.  How do you do?  After you madam. And so on.  They smooth interactions, make for pleasant exchanges and are the social lubricant that keeps us all ticking along side of each other despite a myriad of differences of personality and approaches.

People hide passion, disagreement, dislike behind civility and good manners.  They can also tamp down love, enthusiasm, desire and humour.  Manners moderate.  Sometimes, they subjugate.  Or liberate.  Always, but always, they impact.

Which is why they are their own tyranny.  But a tyranny that can be used for good.  If you spend an entire day consciously using good manners, no matter the reaction you get, there is an immense amount amusement to be had.

For instance, go into a store staffed by surly teenagers more used to being ignored or told off then greeted with a smile.

Smile big.  Big. Big. Big. 

Them: "You right?"
You: "Hi, yes, I'm fine, thanks for asking. Aren't you a gem? I'll let you know if I need anything"
Them: (muttering behind hand to colleague when back behind the counter - warning - batty bitch at the back of the shop)

You: "Hi, can I have these please? This is a great shop isn't it?
Them: "$50"
You: "Thanks so much, I hope you have a lovely day"
Them: (mutters to colleagues as you depart - I dunno what that bitch is on but its killing me)

And its not just teenagers.  Thank the bus driver.  Smile at a colleague.  Greet the receptionist.  Wave at the postman.  Let the horn heavy wanker in the BMW in front of you with a smile and a nod.  Pay for the coffee of the guy behind you. Let the person with only a few items in front of you at the supermarket. Agree with a colleague. Hold open a door.

It makes you feel remarkably good and it discombobulates the rude.  Knocks them off course. And that's not a bad thing.  Not when you've done it so politely.

Go on. Try it.