Sunday, March 05, 2006

Notes: Talk to the Hand

Lynne Truss in Talk to the Hand gives thanks to the “nameless people who were rude” for there would be no book. Probably got most of her material from the local Wal-Mart.

“I don’t like that” or as Truss calls it, the elbow skin test. (p4) If a pinched elbow takes more than 2 seconds to pop back into place, you may be old. Old and intolerant of cell phones or other new techie rudenesses found in our current pop-culture world. Also, rudeness is a universal flashpoint. p7

Reminds me of the teenage employee who liked to just burp (large & loud) for no other reason than she could or so she thought she could. Oh, the embarrassment I suffered when she let one rip in front of the FOL president. She did not adhere to Truss’s, “Remember you are with other people; show some consideration.” p12 “Manners are based on an ideal of empathy, of imagining the impact of one’s own actions on others.” p14 Truss leads us to equate good manners not only to virtue but with positive heroism. What this employee thought was funny, was seen as disgusting and very immature. She hardly envisioned her act as indicative of young and dumb, or she wouldn’t have done it.

The coin is turned when we, well-mannered humans think of ill manners. “Everyone else has bad manners; we have occasional bad moments. Everyone else is rude; we are sometimes a bit preoccupied.” p19

Pete and I got a kick out of this sentence. “When we exclaim at the standards of courtesy on the roads, we ought to remember what it’s like to drive in Italy.” (p38) The Italians are so crazy; they will pass people on turns, not knowing if anyone is on the other side. When we were out in the country, we noticed how drivers pulled over, almost into ditches, to let those behind them pass. Funny, most Americans aren’t sure why a rearview mirror is even installed in cars.

I like Truss’s equating politeness as a ritual of tennis. We bat, back and forth, niceties until someone gets tired. Perpetual motion has been discovered as two well mannered gents exchange an unending array of thank you(s), sorry(s) and you’re welcomes. p43

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