Friday, August 1, 2008

Good manners and bad and toodlets

I am laughing my way through Lynn Truss's book, "Talk to the Hand." and the subtitle."The utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door." She wrote the very funny book, "Eats, shoots and leaves." All about punctuation, especially the "apostrophe."

Good manners means paying attention to the people around you, at home, at work, shopping, riding a bike, driving a car, running, jogging, walking. Two days ago I was close to the bank when the door opened and an elderly lady with a walker started to push through. A young lad, ten or eleven, already in the bank rushed to hold the door for her. She thanked the boy and she and I smiled at each other. "Doesn't that just make your day," I said. When I entered the bank, the boy was standing next to is father at a bank machine. What a great kid. With great parents and possibly a grandmother.

Manners came with the territory when I was brought up and my husband and I passed them on to our children. For instance, on a crowded bus. My son has a seat and a very pregnant woman moves up to stand near him. Of course, he stands and offers her his seat. That's what we did as children. Always stood to give a seat to the old and infirm or hugely pregnant.

Lynn Truss says it better than I. This is a quote from her book. "Manners are based on an ideal of empathy, of imagining the impact of one's own actions on others. They involve doing something for the sake of other people that is not obligatory and attracts no reward."

I still remember the bad manners of a man riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. He came up behind me as I was walking and I had to dodge to the side. I said, "There's a road out there for you to ride on." And he said, "Fuck off." It's the common expletive if you dare to make a comment about a rude gesture.

Then to make you all smile, here is the story about the dear little toodlets. A woman, Zoey Slater, was so distressed to see hundreds of toodlets squashed on the road in the Ryder Lake area of Chilliwack, BC. that she organized 150 people over 10 days to rescue the toodlets as they tried to cross the road to a swamp. The volunteers came with buckets and shovels, the kind found in a child's sand box and scooped up the dime-sized toadlets. In the article there's a story about the toads who breed in the area. They are listed by the federal government as "special concern" or a species at risk. So Ms Slater wants to have a toad tunnel built under the road to save the thousands squashed every year. Now that's what I call good manners. Concern for a species at risk.

And now for something competely different. "The Rough Guide to GETTING NAKED." That's about engaging in sexual activity in a public place. "Sex is as much a part if vacations these days as tucked-in sheets and overpriced cocktails, and the MILE HIGH CLUB has seemingly been replaced with the MILES AWAY CLUB, with people engaging in erotic behaviour in increasingly exotic locales." That's from The Globe and Mail again.

I think it's Bad Manners to have sex in a public place. I mean, who wants to watch a couple having at it? Not a pretty sight. I leave you to picture the scene. And now I must leave you.



Charlene Leatherman said...

We used to live in Fort Worth Texas. Every year there was a Tarantula migration where thousands of the 8-legged spideys got squished on the freeway. A Tunnel underneath the freeway would have been a mannerly solution. Good Post, Anita.

Anita Birt said...

I spelled toadlets wrong on the blog title. I have permission from the woman who took the picture to use it on my blog - when I get around to it.