Written by

Andrew Millar


November 13, 2007

You are invited to the wake of the dear departed RSVP. Please RSVP.

No one does it anymore. This simple requested courtesy has gone the way of many other socially considerate codes. I hate it. It is so rude!

I know I’ve occasionally been accused of being a ‘grumpy old man’ so let me prove it by having a big whine about a few of my other pet hates.

Let’s start with driving.

I was cut off by the same person three times on the way to work the other morning. Excessive lane changing like this is a sign that they believe that what they have to do is far more important than everyone else. I resent that. I’m beginning to believe that young girls with the sticker ‘pushy bitch’ on the back window are offering me the truth about themselves. At least they are being honest….

And I get ‘ticked off ‘ in shops. I resent having to listen to private conversations between shop assistants while they are serving me. I would like to be paid the courtesy of the assistant’s full attention while I’m paying money. Keep the chat about their weekends or what a ditz the manager is for later. This can be held over until lunch or between morning tea and pre-lunch wash up break or whatever gaps Unions have negotiated so that no one actually has to do any work. My time is precious to me.

AND, as I have taken the time and spent the effort to personally arrive at the shop, largely make my choice without bothering anyone and to bring it by myself to the counter, I expect priority over anyone who phones in requesting information. I believe that if I have money in hand, I should win. So the next person who halts my transaction to take a phone enquiry will find me hanging the phone up for them with my hands if it is a fixed line – or the heel of my shoe if it is a mobile….

AND as the subject of mobiles has been raised, I would like to openly state that I hate the things. Their introduction has not made communication between people any better, it’s just made it more frequent. The quality of conversations does not appear to have improved, just the amount of time chatting has increased. The other day I walked down Rundle Mall and found it difficult to find someone coming in the other direction who wasn’t asking their sleeve “”What did you do last night?””. But the ones I really can’t stand are the Bluetooth headsets – usually guys with a sharp shirt and tie who stand at traffic lights, hands free, so they can adjust the nads while they jabber to someone else about the car they test drove and had no intention of buying…: ““Yeah, maxed it in every gear mate. You should have seen the sales guy squirm…”. If I am to lose my personal space then at least let me have something like a good share tip or a bit of juicy gossip to replace it with.

I stood in a queue the other day to put a social bet on the Melbourne Cup and the person 5 in front of me held up the entire line up to phone someone to check on the name of the horse he was to bet on. We all stood and waited while he had a quick chat: “Yeah, What did you do last night?”.”… It resembled old ladies in supermarkets who don’t begin fumbling in their handbag for money until the register girl has actually announced the final total price…. Or on the rare occasions when I’ve travelled on public transport, it’s the person who starts fumbling for a ticket once they are on the bus….

In New York, these people are pushed to one side and the next person is dealt with. It is not a rude gesture or quaintly violent like Seinfeld’s ‘Soup Nazi’…. New Yorkers simply see these things as bad manners and they don’t have the time to deal with it.

And another thing……

Oh, sorry… I need a holiday….