Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Small Annoyances and Minor Questions of Etiquette

Small annoyance #1

I get mad at people in front of me at a red light when I'm planning a right turn. Every minute they're sitting there waiting to go straight is a minute I could be closer to my destination. If only the clog in front of me had asked me before we arrived at the light and let me go first. I sort of wish there were a car way to handle situations like in the grocery store when you only have one item and a person with a full cart let’s you go in front of them.

Minor Question of Etiquette
When I’m walking up to wait for the signal to cross a street and there is another person already waiting there, is it offensive to push the button again? Is that like being the person who pushes the elevator button even though you’re standing there and it’s lit up already? Because really what’s happening is I’m pushing the button to cross just in case this person forgot or maybe is not familiar with the button pushing system. (It's also possible they have no fingers and were just going to cross frogger style.) In any case, I want to double check that the button has been pushed without insulting the person’s intelligence.

It seems simple enough to ask them, but even that might be annoying. For example, a similar situation in which I was the victim of such an insult. I was waiting to use the bathroom at the Hippodrome (three stall set up). A girl walks in, sees me waiting there, and proceeds to do the “bend and check” we ladies have to do when we’re looking to see if stalls are occupied. As she’s checking and positioning herself in front of one of the other stalls, three thoughts flit through my mind.

1. Even if I had some gross oversight and you happen to find an empty stall, IT IS MINE.
2. There are THREE stalls here. THREE! Not twenty five. Don’t you think I checked them myself before leaning up against the wall to squeeze my legs together?
3. If I wasn’t waiting to pee. I would have informed you when you entered. What kind of person do you think I am?

As it was, I nearly pushed her out of the way and wiggled into the stall she was waiting for. I’d be damned if that bitch was going to take a leak before me, who had diligently powerwalked my way out of the theater to get there before her.

Small annoyance #2: Greetings and Goodbyes in America
It is my sincere wish that we as a people could get it together on the greeting front. Other countries and cultures have very clear standards. Kiss cheek hello, handshake hello etc…
In Japan they bow to each other. In France there is an intricate system of bisous greetings by region. One kiss in this city, three in the one south of it, two in yet another. Everyone knows the rules and abides by them. I don’t know if they learn it in school, or if the knowledge is simply passed along to residents of France via their French DNA, but there is never any confusion. No one ever glides in for a hug only to be met with a misplaced peck on the cheek. No one goes to leave a social gathering and does the awkward, "Are-you-a-hugger-or-aren’t-you" dance. The pressure to have your own greeting style is off, because your culture has provided one for you. That’s my dream for a better America. Let’s clean up our hellos and goodbyes.

(Here I'll leave you with a small kiss on each cheek. Au Revoir.)


james ford said...

i was returning something at a walmart after the holidays. there are maybe twenty people in the line. a douche behind me starts questioning why there is only one line and two clerks. he starts asking why don't we make two lines and when no one backs him on it be proceeds to the front of the line and starts to move people into two lines at which point me and another woman tell him to go back where he came from and wait his turn. he keeps trying to sell the two lines move quicker theory.

no, two clerks, three clerks, four clerks move a line quicker. what he was doing was taking one long line and making it into two short lines that still bottleneck into two cashiers. even worse, lets say one cashier is quicker than the other. now i have to stand in line b and watch people who arrived after me get serviced because i got poke-poke-pocahontas as my cashier.

i hate rabble-rousers. get back in line and let the bloated bureaucracy maintain order.

Steph said...

I'm a big fan of the one line system. Whole Foods does it. And an upscale yuppie grocery store cannot be wrong.

Yvonne said...

You know, it's funny that you bring up the whole "greetings and goodbyes" topic. I'm all for a commonly accepted US way of saying "hello" and "goodbye."

Just the other day I was saying goodbye to one of my best friends (who happens to be male) when another guy, whom I had only recently met, came up and started talking to us. Well, I gave my friend a big hug goodbye and was saying "bye" to the other as I walked away to return to work. All of a sudden, out of the blue, this new guy throws his arms around my shoulders and leans his head into mine! WTF!! All I could think was, "I in no way, shape, or form invited you to touch me!" I tried to nicely pull away and gave the universal, small, "wow, this is really uncomfortable" laugh and kept on walking.

Somedays, I wish I could be the bitch I've always dreamed of being...