OK perhaps it is because I am getting older and this is just a symptom of advancing years, my attention swinging outwards and becoming focused like a laser on the behaviour of others because it is easier than looking at my own failings. I accept that it is not beyond the bounds of reason that it is simply the boredom and despair with my own trifling existence that is causing me to audibly tut with anger on a daily basis BUT why are people so f**king rude these days? Come on, you must have noticed it too?
It seems we are all so reluctant to engage with each other. The door held open for a stranger who doesn't so much as look you in the facial area never mind the eyeball? The driver you stop for in your car so that they can pull out into an otherwise endless stream of traffic who blankly looks at you with his best Kertwerk emotionless deadpan face? The person who piles onto the packed commuter train before you have had time to exit displaying blatant disregard for basic science. "Hey buddy, I am certainly no Einstein but even I have managed to figure out once my mass is out of this space there will be more room for your significant rude mass to manoeuvre into it sucker. Why don't you get it?"
Now I am the first to admit that I can sometimes go too far when it comes to politeness. Some days my vocal output consists almost entirely of a string of over emphatic "pleases", "thank you" and of course the omnipresent very British "sorry". I am aware that my borderline creepy approach to manners can itself become a little irksome. But I have an excuse; I am damaged goods you see. I blame the long years I spent waitressing in some of London's best restaurants as an under appreciated (and some what uncoordinated) plate slinger I became highly tuned to the rudeness of customers. Now, perhaps I feel it is my duty to put right all of those discourteous wrongs. I am the considerate, slightly crap, caped crusader, " No No...after you Robin, I insist".
I think the thing that really gets me about persistently blanking your fellow humanoids in day to day (non) interactions is that it is a complete counter action to the effort we put into "connecting" with people through other, less personal means. We tweet, tweet, tweet like demented attention seeking birds, wings flapping and beaks bleating into the cyber faces of strangers. " Notice me, for Gods sake notice me."
Here is a radical thought, how about actually talking to a stranger? I did such a maverick thing recently on a tube journey. I sat down and rather than denying my existence as is the norm of fellow travellers the man in the seat beside me gave a big, warm, friendly smile. How lovely, I thought.
"Hi, how are you?" I said. I was genuinely happy that another individual was prepared to reach out, make contact and break the mould.
"I am just great" he replied with a very pronounced American accent.
"Are you on holiday here?" I enquired
"Yes I sure am mam" he said "and I am loving it".
"That's great" I replied, thinking to myself how jolly, here I am having a perfectly pleasant little chat with a stranger on a tube what a lovely normal, human thing to do.
"What are you enjoying most about your visit?" I asked
"Oh I just love it here in the UK, the Castles, your history but I guess most of all I really appreciate the British openness when it comes to S and M sex and rubber play, it is so much more relaxed than in the US".
The conversation like the tube train we were on came to a juddering halt.
"Oh... my stop" I lied and darted through the open doors with the speed of a gazelle who has just turned around to discover a lion sniffing at its rear.
If nothing else it made for a rather unique status update that day.
True story.....I thank you..... Sorry.