Good Manners In The Big City

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I read this in the UPI the other day:

BOSTON, April 7 (UPI) -- Growing numbers of U.S. parents are enrolling their
youngsters in etiquette classes to reinforce behaviors they struggle to teach
in the home, families report.
Parents say changing times have made manners harder to teach, blaming rushed
meals, television, movies, and technology for the erosion of social skills, The
Boston Globe said Monday.
"Parents are doing the best that they can at home. This is just to give the
kids a little additional reinforcement," said Jen Schaeffner, a mother in
Marblehead, Mass.
Etiquette classes reportedly have become a popular way for kids as young as 4
to learn table manners and conversational skills.
Critics argue the classes are unacceptable for young children, the newspaper
"It's something that should be integrated into their entire day and not
transformed into a structured activity," said Susan Linn, a psychologist at the
Judge Baker Children's Center in Boston.

I don't claim to be Mr. Manners. Especially if you are a Giants fan. But I do often take public transportation, use the gym or i'm out in the bars and try to adhere to what my parents taught me. Here's a list that my friends and I came up with when it comes to lack of manners from our fellow residents. Add your own in the comment section!

1. Saying "Please", "Thank You" and "Excuse Me". Three of the most basic words ever taught to anyone and rarely heard on the streets of Hoboken.

2. Learning how to wait in line, behind the person in front of you. No, not to the side. Behind someone.

3. Holding a door open for a someone! If I already have passed through a doorway, and notice someone is behind me, i'll hold the door for them, so it doesn't swing back and hit them in the face. I dare any of my girl friends to say that I don't hold open the door for them when we enter any establishment.

4. Learning how to go up & down the stairs. Up the stairs on RIGHT, Down the stairs on RIGHT. If you are faster, and not impeding traffic - feel free to quickly ascend or descend on LEFT.

5. "Wide Legged" men on public transportation & people who put their bags on the seat next to them on the bus. Grrr.

6. Asking if someone is using a bench or equipment at the gym or offering to share the bench/equipment. Is it really that hard, "Excuse me are you using that?" or "I'm using it now, but you can join in." I think we all learned "sharing" in 1st grade.

7. If you don't have something nice to say...keep it to yourself! No one wants to hear, "Wow, you gained some weight, huh?" or "Your roots are showing!", or "Hmmm, you have one ugly baby."

8. Learn how to get on a subway or PATH. Step 1: Doors open. Step 2: Let passengers off. Step 3. Quickly get on the train, take a seat, or stand in a place that isn't right in front of the fucking door. Versus what I see every morning....Step 1: Doors open, the outside linebackers in high heels slamming shoulders into the defensive linemen in sneakers trying to get off the train. It's like Full Contact Musical Chairs.

9. Loud cell phone talkers. Shut up! I don't want to hear that your boyfriend isn't paying enough attention to you. I don't want to hear you beg mommy and daddy to lease you an Audi A4! I really don't care if you think you are the next Guido Gordon Gekko and talking about the "LAMBO" you drove last weekend with your "BOYZ". Shut the FUCK up! I get a call on a cell phone in the gym or on the bus - i'll say "Hey, can I call you back?", not, "LETS MEET AT LOUNGE 11! THAT'S RIGHT BRO! DJ'AIS THIS SUMMER AT BEL-MAWR!!"

10. Passing gas. Dude, seriously? Seriously? You have to fart in the middle of a bar or on a PATH train? What's wrong with you, exactly? At what point in your mental midget life did your parents completely forget the part about teaching you not to be a complete and total scumbag in public?

11. Not giving up a seat for the elderly, injured or pregnant. On the PATH I had a few people - men and women - who were very nice to me when they saw me with my crutches. I always make sure I get out of my seat if I see someone who needs it more than me.

12. Learning how to walk on a sidewalk. Much like the stairs, stay to your right. Don't sloooooooowly walk down the sidewalk with a friend, shoulder to shoulder and stop people from passing you. Also the stroller moms know what i'm talking about - you push your stroller, wandering the street, like you are on too much cold medicine.

13. Learn to hail a cab - don't stand 5 feet in front of someone else who was hailing cabs before you.

14. LEFT LANE = FAST LANE (i.e. Faster than Speed Limit!). RIGHT LANE = SPEED LIMIT LANE. Stop being idiots NJ drivers! Do not pass someone in the right lane, then get in front of them and SLOW DOWN. This is also true for you STROLLER MOMS out there! Stay to the right, ladies!

15. When it's raining use an enormous GOLF umbrella when GOLFING. Not for walking down the sidewalk and making other people duck or move out of the way from getting hit in the head by your umbrella. Gustbuster makes a great umbrella.

16. People who don't slow down at an intersection for pedestrians & pedestrians who blindly cross the street without looking. Both drivers and pedestrians feel like they have the "RIGHT" of way. You don't. Make eye contact with a driver before you cross the street, and LOOK at the lights to see if you have the right of way before you cross the street. Far too often I see mommys with strollers crossing when the light changes and then give the drivers the "oh yea just try to hit ME buddy" look while they cross the street.

17. Saying "Bless you" when you sneeze. Have we really become so self contained that we don't say that anymore?

18. Helping someone out that you don't even know. I was walking into my building when I saw an enormous newly delivered couch against someone's front door. While passing by I saw the neighbor who owned the couch eyeing it curiously and looking a bit helpless. I said, "Do you need my help moving that into your place?" He looked completely relieved, saying "Thank you so much! I didn't know what I was going to do, I would have to call some friends to help me." Another example, i'm walking around Tribeca and always see the "tourist lost" people. You know the type. They stand there with a map, looking around, completely lost and trying to find street signs. I just walk up and don't say "Hello" - I simply say, "Hey, where you trying to go?" They always look so happy and surprised that a NEW YORKER (heh) is helping them. Everytime they leave I always get them saying, "Wow, everyone said that New Yorkers are rude..." Of course that's because i'm a PHILLY BOY in New York, but lets not get to particulars.

19. Learn how to shake someone's hand. Learn it. There's an actual art to how you should shake someone's hand. Make EYE CONTACT. Show that you are interested in them. I always get the people who shake my hand and look away like i'm not important enough to pay attention to - how very rude. Or they give me the dead fish handshake. Or the "I'M THE NEXT DONALD TRUMP" vice grip with a strong pull towards them. Learn how to shake someone's hand. Really. It's good manners.

And finally for my peeps at ICAP in Jersey City...

20. The terms "Print", "Done" and "I'm a seller" or "I'm a buyer" when talking about anything in normal conversation, outside of work, is over. Mmmm-kay? You sound like a tool, and it's not really bad manners, but it's just lame. Also if anyone says "I gotta hop" anymore, I think it should be legal to take them outside, behind the shed and shoot them like Old Yeller.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on April 10, 2008 12:12 PM.

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