FAX MACHINE ETTIQUETTE

13 Oct

Manners are like fax machines. They ain’t no good to ye if you’re the only one in possession of ’em. Like fax machines, manners are a mode of efficient connection. They do a job and it helps people communicate well. I try to live by the maxim: A gentleman is never rude. Unintentionally.

Mostly I succeed albeit currently (I imagine) in the curt mode of that tweed-clad bastard man Henry Higgins. (I do not wear tweed.) And I could never be interested in something as tediously demanding as linguistics. Especially London’s. What’s the point? The minute you’ve written it down it’s already changed. Except the stuff that never seems to.

Anyway, I’m still agitated. I’m a race-car in the red. I’m the super-fly TNT. Well I was the super-fly TNT about two hours ago. I was rude – intentionally. I spend a lot of my time here:

StateLibrary1

It’s a grand old dame and I know her well. I’ve been in this city 12 years now and I’ve had more than three periods of ‘library’. Here I was when these two bonehead apes (female) came bouncing into the place like they were playing Shazza from the Plaza #1 and #2 in the The New Jetsons Movie bit where George gets ready to go fishing on Europa and gets his tie stuck in the one of the Sex Dispenser Robot’s slots.

This is Level 2A which allows for murmur level discussion but these two are projecting loud air through the entire room. It’s a large room and we’ve already had the cracked old crank doing his Führer speech. Old Crack likes to tell us all off as if he’s our father and we’re all two! His other schtick is much less charming. He says things like “you learned to read yet? Freak!” to people he’s never met.

Old Crack does his hourly wind-up, shuts up and Shazza #1 and #2 come bouncing down the mezzanine these two, yakety-yak. One’s not really a Shazza more Euronerd. The other’s Aussie… well she’s gotta do something about whatever it is compels her to do that to her hair. And they know they’re supposed to keep it down but they just don’t give a shit. By the time they get to their desk they’ve forgotten all about whispering and proceed to a loud conference. You can see the grinding teeth all ’round. It’s not loud like the Old Crack. But it’s loud enough to make it more difficult for anyone immediately about ’em to read and write.

So I tell ’em off. And yeah – I was curt! I’m not often actually curt to people. Curt is the cutting edge of good manners. Literally cutting. When you are curt you are at the edge of good conduct. You are cold, not actually aggressive but it’s made clear without saying that you are prepared for confrontation. You make certain whoever you’re addressing knows they’re a bucket of shit. Just not with words. Sorry. Often I’m nicer about it but not today.

Euronerd’s a bit of a hippie of course and she tells me I have to tell them nicely. Curt’s not nice, it’s not supposed to be. I tell people to shut up in here all the time. I’m usually very nice about it but every once in a while, a brat with no idea how to comport themselves public-wise. They think polite means ‘being nice’. Especially, it means everyone being nice to you.

Aussie Hair bears the standard condescending look of someone who’s never learned to take an order. Euronerd’s got standard condescending look of someone who thinks she has a right to give them. They needs a caning. And today I was in the mood to give it to them.

When you’re curt, people usually mind themselves. If they don’t you can be rude. Shut the fuck up or variations thereof loud enough to cause embarrass them usually suffices. It’s crude but so are they.

Well….

Euronerd was amused, certainly. She congratulated me, “You are first dickhead I meet in Australia.”

“Arsehole dear.” I say, “The word you’re looking for is ‘arsehole’.” Yeah I was an arsehole. On purpose.

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