In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project

In Search of My Father 2017 Writing Project
In Search of My Father, 2017 writing project supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Thursday, 13 July 2017

MANNERS & A GNAT'S FART

Whatever else I am, I try to be a gentleman with regard to manners. I say 'please' and 'thank you' a lot and I'm old-fashioned enough to still hold doors open for people with a cheery 'after you' to boot. But in this increasingly screwed up, head-in-its-ass world of apoplexy at the merest gnat's fart of a potential offensive action or remark, I sometimes wonder if manners are worth anything at all. Why bother?

So, what's brought this on. I was entering a shop and, through the glass, I saw a woman heading for the door to leave. I opened the door and said 'after you' with a smile. She looked at me with a face that suggested she had just won gold at the world lemon-sucking championships and said - she actually said: "I'm quite capable of opening my own doors, thank you." And off she glided into the street.

I stood for a moment or two with my jaw scraping the pavement before shaking my head a little and entering the shop. As I browsed, I was aware that I was muttering expletives to myself at this gink of a woman and how she had pretty much ruined my morning which, up to then, had been jolly and upbeat.

My point, I suppose, is that it would have been better had she not said anything at all - and there are plenty of people who do not acknowledge a kindly, well-intentioned gesture like holding a door open. But she had to open her citrus-soaked bake and say what she said.

I don't wish ill on many people but I hope to read in the local paper about a woman with a taut, tight-lipped face and a gold lemon medal round her neck who fell down a manhole and who said to rescuers: 'I'm quite capable of falling into and getting out of my own manholes.'





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