I am aware that city life isn’t for the faint hearted. I have read a great deal about how life in the 21st century seems to be one ultra competitive race to the coffin. What I haven’t heard about is why exactly more and more people are turning into arseholes?
Admittedly I didn’t have an idealistic childhood. Despite that, I did learn a thing or two when I was young. Most notably that good manners cost nothing.
I am far from a model citizen. I accept that I suffer from an overly liberal-minded tongue. However if I am in a rush I will say excuse me as I push past people. If I tread on someone inadvertently I will apologise. If someone holds a door open for me I will say thank you.
What frustrates me the most about the apparent disappearance of manners is that I now reside in a society which is overwhelmingly Christian yet nowhere have I more keenly felt the absolute rejection of the concept of ‘loving’ your neighbour than here in Poland. I have no idea whether manners have eroded to such an extent in other countries. Just the very thought is disheartening.
Countless times I have met people from other countries who have a somewhat archaic view of Britain. It seems that the common opinion is that Britain stops everything for tea, we only ever talk about the weather, our food is awful and our people are overly polite. The very fact that our politeness stands out either says something great about our culture or says something negative about theirs. I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked why do you say thank you for everything? You get change in a shop you say thank you, someone holds open the door you say thank you, you get off the bus you thank the driver. For them they can’t imagine why we do these things, for me I can’t imagine why they don’t.
I can’t speak for my country, however I can speak for myself. I do these things for two reasons, the first is not out of any sense of moral obligation nor due to religious instruction. I do these things because they are things I can do to make the world a little more pleasant. And the second reason is the fact that I am not an ignorant arsehole.