There are some people in this world who feel a powerful bond with other human beings. They love humanity with all its shortcomings. They love to be in crowds with the rest of the world, the closer the better. They sing folk songs about everyone being a sister or a brother to everyone else. “If you need a friend… blah, blah.”
I’m not one of those people. If I see a crowd, I go the other way. If I travel by public transport I distance myself as much as possible. And the same goes for theatres or restaurants and other public places. Quite frankly, other people’s personal habits make me sick. They cough, they sneeze, they snort, they burp, they yawn and they do it all without covering their mouths.
Yesterday, I was disgusted by a woman who was excavating her boyfriend’s earwax with her fingernails. They were sitting opposite me on a tram. That endeavour wore her out. She then went on to yawn and displayed a cavernous gob which reminded me why I’m relieved that I’m not a dentist. Imagine looking at that all day. Well, I guess it could be worse. There are other even more nauseating medical fields, and perhaps the money makes up for it.
It would have to.
Which brings me to what turns me off. You guessed it, it’s lack of manners and we know that manners, courtesy and consideration are alien to many people. They simply don’t know any better. It must be their upbringing and that is unfortunate. But sadly, understanding that they don’t know any different doesn’t make repulsive behaviour easier to take.
I still can’t bear being near somebody who is snorting mucous from the bowels of his or her innards. I can’t stand it when anyone sneezes in my direction. I am not drawn to hug a stranger. Well, you don’t know where he’s been lol.
It really worries me that etiquette and by that I mean basic consideration rather than which correct fork to use with which food, has disappeared. How long has it been since I’ve heard “Excuse me” or “Sorry” when someone bumps into me?
How long has it been since some fellow passenger has noticed that others on the tram may not be interested in his or her boring mobile phone conversation?
I’m stuck with sharing this world with all those inconsiderate excrescences. I’m also fully aware that they are not going to change. So I turn away and fantasise about a Great Flood.
p.s the following bit of my post was added on the 1st October which happens to be AFL Grand Final Day in Melbourne.
Famous author, Alexander McCall Smith has just given an interesting interview on this very subject during his current visit to Australia. He is dismayed by the lack of social values in the U.K. He refers to a broken society in which honesty, decency and good manners have become unfashionable concepts. Moreover, he links these failings with the recent riots in the U.K. One of the demons in the U.K is binge drinking, he says.
We have similar problems here in Australia to the ones that McCall Smith talks about. Young people binge drink and that includes young women as well. The problem here is that alcohol is everywhere and not much happens without a drink. Today, for example, the alcohol outlets are making a fortune because there is going to be a Grand Final of one of the football codes and you cannot watch sport without drinking and drinking and drinking. Not if you are a real “Sportsman” lol.
Hopefully the shopping mall will be empty this afternoon since everybody will either be at the football or glued to the T.V.