24 April 2013

The practising of small acts of politeness

I have been seeing a psychologist since I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression and PTSD following a particularly crappy first birth experience.  It's not a secret and my only regret is that I didn't accept the diagnosis at first figuring that knowing I had it was essentially dealing with it. 

We've done pretty well working me through that and we're still working on a few things around depression and anxiety and since I'm there, life in general.  So generally, she knows a lot of stuff about me.  We've worked through stuff I've talked about with nobody else, my inner thoughts, my outer thoughts, my not quite articulated thoughts.  It's a pretty intimate relationship and obviously I have to trust her because she knows EVERYTHING.  

Like everything. 

Which is why it ALWAYS makes me chuckle quietly to myself when I pay at the end of a session, she takes two steps away and turns her back, so I don't feel she's looking at me entering my PIN.  If she asked me I'd give it to her.  I know she'd do nothing with the information apart from make a note that I'm an idiot and we need to discuss that in another session. 

And it got me thinking as I left her yesterday that a lot of people practice small acts of polite which are respectful but unnecessary.

Like the doctor turning his back while you get dressed after your pap smear.  I mean really, I think we are way past that.  We've just chatted that whole time, so we might as well continue talking now that I'm upright.

And anything to do with childbirth - asking how my day is or whether the traffic was okay when you're examining my insides with an instrument larger than the child I've grown or as you're cutting my stomach open to move things aside and pull out a baby - is essentially superfluous good manners.  I'm touched that you care but I'm assuming that you've currently got other things to focus on and I am completely, totally okay with that.  No really.  

But it's not just the medical profession.  There are hairdressers that chop off your ponytail and then say 'that length okay?'. Um, should we not have checked before you used the scissors?  Just quietly it's a bit late now but yes it's fine, I'm just thinking that was a 'before' question, rather than an 'after' question. 

Another recent favourite is the carjacker that forced a man at gunpoint to drive him a couple of hundred kilometres and finished with a 'thanks for the lift' kind of statement as he jumped out and buggered off at the final destination.

In a world where manners are becoming scarcer than a non-racist Liberal party policy, it is lovely that people still use them and I do appreciate being on the receiving end of good manners, no matter how random they seem.  I've just been noticing them used at odd times.  Is this because they are not the norm, therefore I'm noticing them or is it just a heightened sense of the absurd which make them obvious to me?

Thoughts?