24 October 2005

Etiquette lessons

Walking in the park today, I passed a quartet of Latino teenagers, shouting at each other about nothing. They were probably skipping school, but I was doing the same from work, so who am I to judge? All teenagers shout, have you noticed? Add to their numbers, and the sound multiplies. It bothers some people, but I like it. Everything is still so important; they have to be heard.

After I passed, one of the girls shouted, "you're supposed to say 'excuse me'!"

I made, in the space of one second, one of those complicated calculations involving race, class, age, and whether I wanted to ignore the girl for being rude, confront her for same, or use this as an opportunity to bridge the divide.

I turned around, and said, somewhat sweetly, "I'm sorry; excuse me."

"I didn't mean you," she said. A running man had just passed the group on the other side. Maybe he'd crowded them.

Later, after supper, walking to the bank, I stopped at 73rd street to let a purple Pet Bowl truck turn right, though I had the right of way. It was dark and raining, and I'd rather not get hit and/or wet if I can help it.

After the truck turned, I crossed, and a man passed me, saying as he did, "you had the right of way!" I couldn't tell if he was angry at me, or just trying to be helpful.

(By the way, I had to stay home from work today. I spent several hours in the very fine company of Stunt Mother and her family -- collectively known as The Disease Vectors -- and I needed to stop this cold that's coming before it arrived. For the good of everyone in my office, see...)


Blogger Pedestrian Rage said...

Oh, I wish I had come to play!

If I am feeling generous, and it's a weird intersection and I'm alone, like when a large delivery truck starts to turn but slows, anticipating that I'm going to take my right-of-way and make him stop so I can cross, I sometimes wave through the vehicle. It's just easier for them. The driver was nice to slow down for me and let me cross, but it's easier for him just to go through his turn, and what's it to me? It's hard driving an unwieldy delivery truck through Manhattan.

I do not do this for UPS vehicles.

12:46 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home