August 3, 2013

Please, thank you, and excuse me.

New Yorkers get a bad rap.  Native New Yorkers, that is.  They aren't rude.  They may be loud, passionate, brash, and/or assertive, and they may well be fed up with tourists and immigrants.  I know I am. If I had to survive in a city that is constantly overrun with people from somewhere else, people with little knowledge or care of how things are done, I would go postal in short order.

Granted, elbowing your way through sidewalk and subway crowds is just how it is done.  And, I frequently highlighted the fact that I wasn't 'from there' as I constantly mumbled 'sorry' and 'excuse me' when I was bumped, or doing the bumping.  But, there is a distinct difference between the people trying to live and work in NYC compared to the idiot sightseers and foreigners that are obstacles to how things should work.

Walking on the right side of the sidewalk?  What the hell for?  Need to stop moving for some reason?  Well, of course you should do it right in the middle of the sidewalk.  In more than one instance, I passed people who had stopped in the middle of the damn street to text.  Crosswalks are for crossing, stupid.

Native New Yorkers are helpful and kind, in my experience.  Everyone that was rude or doing something appalling in my presence was speaking another language, or heavily accented English.  I will also add in there a percentage of clueless American tourists that belong to the oft-sighted category of careless parents and entitlement-minded jerks.

When we were preparing to move to Germany as a military family, the Army required us to attend classes on German traditions and practices.  I had to go to driving class.  We learned what was considered polite and what was considered insulting.  Sure, we were going to live in a foreign country as representatives of our nation, under an agreement that our government had with theirs, so there was some expectation of decorum.  But, really, anytime I have traveled to another country, I have taken the time to learn how to dress, and move, and interact, without offending the natives. 

Maybe New Yorkers are rude to others - and, from where I sat, those people likely earned the treatment. How about some etiquette videos on flights to major tourist destinations?  Skip the movies as in-flight entertainment and introduce these people to some basic American consideration.  And hygiene.

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