Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Talk to the hand

High on the release of her last book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Lynne Truss has released her latest masterpiece Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door.

Inside are absolute gems on how far people will go to be polite, including a good, dark little story ..about a well-bred country gentleman with suicidal intent who felt it wasn't right to shoot himself before entering his own name in the Game the way, he listed himself under "Various".

Chapters discuss the missing "thankyou", why you are the only one being polite these days, the issue of personal space, amongst other insights to the daily use (or lack of) politeness in our modern society. Her writing style is brilliant - and of course the punctuation and spelling are top shelf as well.

Just the other day Tumorboy and I were discussing the interaction of opening a door for another person. This is a complex equation, and contains the following variables. Each can add or subtract to the weight of the door being held open.

Distance of peson to the door.
Speed of the person walking behind.
Do I know the person?
Is the person pregnant?
How old the person is.
Is the person attractive?
Is the person pushing a pram?
Is the person holding a huge box?
Did the person smile?
Do they look angry/crazy?

Obviously there comes i time when the door can no longer be held open...

They are too far away
They walk to slow
They are a skinhead
They slow down as they walk to the door.
They slow to chat to someone else.

The door opening equation is very hard to calculate, and sometimes, as in life, we make the mistake of holding on, when we should just let go.

And the fact some tossers never acknowledge you efforts dont make it any easier the next time either.
A pox on them I say!

1 comment:

Star trek doors would solve the problem! said...

Door etiquette is indeed fraught with danger. There was a time when, at points of egress, a man’s duty was once clear, sadly those days are gone. Someone really should devise a flow chart or one of those turny wheel thingys. Of course, for this job we need a person with a highly analytical mind, a penchant for pointless rules and an abundance of free time…I nominate you, Mark Jefferies, for this onerous role. You’re not on your own with this though - I don’t want this to be one of those ‘little red hen’ fiasco’s Jessie and I have been reading about of late! As we all should, in order to contribute I shall impart my wisdom on the subject to you, and it is this: “One should hold the door open if the potential outcome of releasing it is hitting the person following you in the face” Possible exceptions are: “If you’re being chased by an alien” and “If IG is following you” That is the sum total of my knowledge in this area… anyone?… Bueler?… anyone?…