October 14, 2016

Horse 2174 - Tales of The Unthinking Unmannered

Dear Manspreaders,
You know who you are and what you are doing. As a fellow owner of similar equipment, I can tell you from personal experience that unless you have some sort of medical problem, there is no need for this course of action. Nor is there really any need for extreme protection such as heat shielding or physical impact guards because the likelihood of encountering either welding flames or fast moving objects like cricket balls doing ninety miles per hour, is so close to nil as to be negligible. This is the 06:52 train to the City and the North Shore; not a train carrying molten steel from Port Kembla, nor does it pass through Silly Mid-On at the SCG.

I happened to be stuck between two behemoths engaging in manspreading on the morning train to the city and I honestly felt as if I'd accidentally sat in the middle of some sort of gravitational rip in the cosmos. It was as though my internal organs were occupying hammer space and my knees were being clamped together in a workbench vice. I think that I was close to having both of my knees shatter due to compression stress and most of my internal organs spontaneously liquify.
Meanwhile the two cousins of Goliath were blissfully unaware that their manspreading was playing havoc with the local laws of the space time continuum and that we were seriously in danger of causing a temporal rift in the fabric of the universe. I suspect that this phenomenon could be harnessed in some way and could form the basis of intergalactic travel in Star Trek because I'm sure that this must be something similar to a warp drive.

Maybe on those older style seats which are just benches, there is an excuse for manspreading but on a newer style seat, there are three clearly demarcated spaces. Just like when you are at Aldi and get to slam down the divisional marker to show where your shopping ends, nobody else should let their person invade your territory. In biblical times there were admonitions not to move ancient boundary stones and likewise, the boundaries between people's space on a train are clearly delineated. As far as I'm concerned, there is no real excuse for unilateral annexation of the most serene independent republic of commuter space.

To some degree I can forgive the accidental noise pollution which spills out from people's headphones and mobile phone conversations. In a quiet place like a train, there will invariably be some bleed of sound going on; that also entitles other passengers to listen in on those conversations. That also means that I will suffer the chorus of "all the single lettuce" for what has to be at least the thousandth time in two years but the sensation of having my knees clash because people on both sides are trying to point on knee at Queensland and the other at Victoria is both unpleasant and disturbing.

What's so valuable about these people's equipment that they need that sort of ventilation anyway? It's not like the next heir of the British Crown will hail from their loins; nor is it likely that their offspring will be the future President Of The United States, so if not, what then, and whyfor?


Dear Queuers,

I know that y'all are in a hurry to get on the bus or train but d'ya really need to be literally that pushy about it?
At Wynyard Station of an afternoon when a million people all want to leave the city simultaneously, as soon as those doors open, the platforms resemble something akin to what you might see at Myer on the morning of the Boxing Day sales. As soon as those doors open, great hordes of impatient commuters all try to barge their way on, as if the defences of a ship of the line have been breached. A weak point in a wall opens up and the charge of the Platform 3 Army begins.

I was in Mosman the other day and just about to get on the bus. The door had opened and I could see that someone with a pram was trying to get off and so, like a sane person, I stood to the side. Almost immediately, I felt two hands in my back, pushing me forwards in an effort to get me to move forward. I looked behind me and saw that it was an older lady who had pushed me. Of all the people in the world who I would expect, someone with a pension card and purple hair isn't one of them.
Or maybe I should.

There is apparently an age where you no longer think that manners apply to you any more. At some point, after a lifetime of being told to respect your elders and make way for them, you then stop running out of elders and so I guess that a sense of entitlement must creep in. Unless being nice to people has become a habit, I can only assume that the pretense of being nice must just fall by the wayside and that old people are just children who have been around a really long time.

The thing about a normal bus, is that because they don't have raised platforms in the same way that a train or tram might do, then the distance from the door to the pavement can often be quite large. That's not a problem for a spritely and tallish gent like myself but if you happen to be an elderly person who is trying to get off the bus, hence the reason why I stood to the side in the first place, then this poses a very real and present danger of falling. That might not be a problem for a four year old, a teenager, a chap of a few decades advanced like myself but having a fall is a serious problem for elderly people who are more fragile and brittle.

That's what I find so utterly bizarre about this. I imagine that elderly people might have developed sympathy or at very least a degree of imagination to predict that someone like them has similar issues to them. Maybe it's precisely because I am a white male aged 25-65 that I'm perceived as being thoughtless but clearly that's not actually the case if I'm standing to the side to allow others to alight the bus.


I'm increasingly becoming aware that the very rich in society don't care about manners because they don't see other people as being worthy; the poorest people in society don't seem to care about manners because let's be honest, life's hard enough without having to worry about that sort of thing, or it could be that they simply don't care; which leaves the only people who do care about manners and being nice and respectful to other people, as the middle class who are trying to push upwards and or don't want to be seen as being common.

I don't expect people to say 'please' and 'thank you' because I think that that is a stretch beyond most people's ability to grease the machinery of social interaction these days and so I have to concede that maybe my expectation that people at least allow others to move through space, is probably also increasingly archaic. Maybe I should just accept the fact that we now live in a world of unthinking unmannered brutes, who can either be clad in a blue singlet or blue rinse.

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