Steven Gradidge. Hi :)

Manners: Where Have they Gone?

Posted on: November 8, 2011

Social situations in which manners need not to apply or adhered are very few and far between. An 18th birthday perhaps is such an example. A Next Summer Sale being another. We are English and we pride ourselves on being polite and courteous beings.

What a load of bollocks that is. We are not. We hate everyone (including ourselves!): The Americans, the French (I’m quarter French on my fathers side), the rest of Europe, the asylum seekers, the immigrants, the Asians, the freeloaders and ‘every-bloody-one’ else it seems. The difference between us and say, the French who are unanimous ‘rudies’, is that we are rude in every conceivable way other than being blunt about it!

This morning I got the 07:09 train from Brighton to London Victoria. I was one of the first on so I had time to set up camp in my SINGLE seat in preparation to heading up to the big smoke. The first stop was Hassocks and by this point it was fairly cramped with the lion share boarding at Brighton.

A normal, middle-aged man took aim and perched himself next to me. Neither did I move or worry, as I safely gave him his fair share of the seating space.or so I thought…

The first thing he did was bully me out of an armrest. Not the best thing to do when trying to make train journey buddies. It’s also a top personal-peeve of mine, but I left it as I was too excited about the seminar I was about to attend and to engrossed with the Steve Jobs Biography.

The next thing he did was even ruder. He kept folding his paper over mine, making it impossible to read one side and turn over the other. Through ninja-like moves I tried on a number of occasions to manoeuvre my pages in away that I thought wouldn’t effect his and my own reading. But no, he insisted on humping newspapers. He was quite literally newspaper raping me in front of everyone, who were of course oblivious to it all.

I kept thinking, ‘how should I politely ask him to be more gentle with me?’, ‘what can I say to him that will not come across as rude?’ Then all of a sudden, a heaven sent olive branch was handed to me. The chap was clearly still a little tired so he treated my shoulder like his pillow. Enough was enough.

‘Excuse, what the hell are you doing?!’ He stirred, looked at me and… Nothing. No apology. No subtle attempt at building bridges. Nothing. So he started reading his paper again, with the ritual of rape as encore. By now, not only was a second round of raping really starting to grind my gears he kept snorting. He kept playing footsie with me. He brought in a lot of rain water into the train that consequently got me wet. He smelt of moth balls. It was as if he had hundreds if not thousands of previous victims and i was determined not to be a notch on his bedpost.

Unlucky for him I was accompanied on the train by an unfortunate supply of flatulence. In a split second, the tables had turned. The guy scarpered and I was enjoying my armrest again.

In this particular example my humble English roots certainly deserted me but hey, let’s think on the bright side: a bad attitude is sometimes easier to tolerate 🙂


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