Friday, May 19, 2006

Reversed manners.

I was educated this week about manners. Apparently how I learned them was incorrect.

I left work early on Wednesday, so I took BART at a time when there aren't that many people. The Fremont train was an 8-car train, which is unusual for that time of day. I was the first in a line of a couple people. The Pittsburgh-Baypoint train was the next train to arrive.

As I usually do when I'm in line and the train is not the one I want to be on, I moved to the right so that anyone behind me could get on without being confused why I wasn't moving. Two people who were behind me got on the train. I was reading, so I wasn't paying attention to what was going on around me, when suddenly someone bashed into me. I looked up and saw a man with two bags strapped to his body walking onto the train.

I was a bit more perturbed that day than I usually am when this happens, more so because the station was pretty much empty, and getting around just me shouldn't have been a huge issue. So I said, while looking into the train, "Excuse you."

See, I come from a world where, if someone is in your way and you need to get by them, you would say "Excuse me" and then proceed. Even better, I learned from my five years as a bookstore employee who had to walk in front of plenty of people who were scanning shelves for books, that one should say "Excuse me" when walking in front of them. It's called being polite.

But something must have changed and no one gave me the memo apparently. I'm supposed to have eyes in the back of my head and know when someone is rushing to bypass me, and if I get smacked with a bag, then so be it and it's my fault and I owe the person and apology.

The man who bashed into me jumped into the doorway and said, "Well, you were in the way, get out of the way and I wouldn't have hit you!"

I said, "You could have gone around me."

He said, "I did go around you, but you were in the way!"

I said, "You're such a gentle-man."

He repeated again that it was my fault.

I repeated he was a gentle-man. Then I called him an arsehole (gotta work on the British slang, I tell you).

I mean, come was this my fault? I told my husband about it because he stayed home from work that day to disassemble our toilet (oh yes, not only did we paint the bathroom walls, put up a new towel rack, light fixture and mirror -- we went all out and bought a new toilet. Okay, I'm lying. We had to buy it due to an unforeseen encounter with the toilet tank and the new handle that we were putting on it -- toilets are darn fragile.).

"What was the guy?" he asked me.

"He was white," I said.

"There you go," he said.

"So if I tell you something like what I just told you, you think of a white person?"

"Yup," he told me.

(That was just a side story on how weird my husband can be.)

So from now on, when someone bashes into me, pushes me down, or tries to strangle me (like last year on BART), I will tell them, "Excuse me." It's not their fault for being nutty or in a rush or that I'm in their way. Darn me for being alive.

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