Friday, December 19, 2008

Overdoing the politeness

Now I want it clearly understood that I have no problem with politeness. I've even been known to be polite myself. It's an essential lubricant to society and without it we'd see a lot more anarchy than we do. After all, if no one is polite then we see road rage, queue rage and worse.

Indeed, I've often ascribed the sometimes excessive politeness I see here in the US to fear; in the land where even I can own a gun if I wanted (I don't), and in a state that permits open carry and has concealed weapon permits, politeness is well advised; you don't know if the guy you snub might pop a cap in your arse! Oh, would that such politeness extended to driving!

Nonetheless, I can't help feeling it's taken a trifle too far.

These days one has to smoke outside of course, which means that I'm negotiating the doors into and out of the building fairly frequently. Me and all the other smokers! Obviously I'm talking at work - since I'm paying the mortgage at home I get to smoke inside if I choose. I choose.

Thus to walking back in after stubbing out. I've learned to check if there are others approaching the door and modulate my approach such that I'm at least twenty feet from the door as they pass through. Otherwise they feel obliged to wait and hold the door open for me.

Now I ask you, do I look like I can't open the door for myself?

Worse, one feels the pressure to do the same. Gut feel tells me that some clown ten feet away won't be terribly offended if I don't pause to hold that damn door open; closer and he might.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to modulate ones approach to be twenty feet behind the person who enters the building before one and more than ten feet ahead of the person behind one. I really should chuck it up, grow a beard and become the curmudgeon who doesn't give a damn. I've already achieved it all save for the beard!

The other day I saw someone who took it to extremes. Youngish bloke on his way out for a smoke. I kid you not, I saw this poor bastard make six false starts away from the door before noticing yet another person approach. At each fresh approach he'd dart back so he could hold the door open. It didn't seem to matter which side of the door they came from, he'd rush back and open it for someone leaving the building, or for someone entering the building.

I swear I almost longed for a weapon so's I could pop a cap in his sorry arse and put him out of his misery!

No comments: