Friday, 26 September 2014

Essential Snobbery 101: Courtesy is respect

Respectfully concerned
Sometimes, I wonder if I should have lived in my parents’ generation because some of the things I find myself within makes me feel I am not in my time.
Basically, manner, attitude and expression would have some pigeon-hole me as old-fashioned, yet many of these old-fashioned things matter a lot. At least to me.
As I step into the station every morning, the newspaper vendor sees me approaching and readies a newspaper for me. I collect the newspaper first with a greeting and then leave with gratitude. I thank him, always, just because it is the right thing to do.
I wear a hat, but would never keep my hat on when speaking to a lady, and I would most likely take it off when speaking to strangers as a sign of respect even if it appears our apparent upbringing is quite obviously different.
Not like the banks of yore
Yet, I work in an environment where many of these vicissitudes of comportment and decorum are dispensed with as if they do not matter; this is supposed to be a bank.
Electronic mails, poorly composed without proper greetings and with bad endings, the language is coarse and lacking in any refinement, as if language is no more in need of nuance and the understated, it shocks and it appalls.
Worse still is the absence of courtesy, the courtesy of being informed, the courtesy of being engaged, and the courtesy of being respected. Nothing shows this up as much as when someone should have let you know of something that you suddenly learn of because it dropped into a chance conversation that you should have been fully involved in from the onset.
Together but separate
This could sometimes be forgiven as forgetfulness, but when it involves many more who should have known better, it is treacherous and too odious for words. It belies an utter lack of regard and dare I say, it is disrespectful.
Something my old-fashioned would never have allowed to happen, but in our world of egalitarianism, equality in the workplace does not necessarily mean we all had access to the schooling and the breeding that ensures that we have the best manners in all we do.
It is at that point that you wonder if you are living in a different world or that circumstance and situation has brought you into experiences you would rather not entertain if you had more choices and options about the company you keep or the ones you find yourself unfortunate and blessed to be associated with.

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