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THE BE-SIDES: BEING POLITE SUCKS ASS

THE BE-SIDES: BEING POLITE SUCKS ASS

Briana_13

By B.E.

My parents raised me right. I hold doors, open I always say thank you; and I have been known to help out my fellow human being when at all possible. As a child, I thought this is just how everyone behaved. As an adult, I can assure you, it is not. 

As I grow old I also grow tired. Tired of irritating people who are more engrossed in their smart phone than able to properly navigate their way down a crowded midtown street. Tired of children ordering candy at the bodega and swiftly exiting in a flurry of laughter and sneaker squeaks yet devoid of any audible please or thank you. Tired of people generally not seeming to care about other people. 

Just last year when receiving a still unresolved seatbelt ticket from an evidently unoccupied cop, I made it a point not to say thank you when handed that yellow sheet of paper. I have received many tickets in my life and each time that gloved hand tore apart the carbon copy and slipped that flimsy sheet of paper through the open window I said thank you. Thank you for giving me a ticket officer who should be out finding pedophiles and crack dealers instead of giving a mostly law abiding citizen a moving violation. Ridiculous! 

With my days behind the wheel mostly behind me, this knee jerk politeness has translated into public transportation decorum. For those of us who live in places like San Francisco and take the jerky ride down Geary on the 38 bus, or in New York City who wedge themselves into the throng of working folks at rush hour on the 1 train we understand the unspoken rules of shared space. 

A combination of poor breeding and rising self importance has led to some very questionable and down right inappropriate behavior in these public spaces. I am not claiming to be a saint but I will never trim my nails on the subway (and for those of you who do, you’re disgusting!) and I will always give up my seat for an elderly person, as was the case this morning. 

This morning I was on a full 1 train heading downtown to work. The flu is playing mind games with me, much like the weather, and just as I thought I was in the clear it has come back with a vengeance in the form of nausea, achiness and the chills. I was reading my AM New York with a sweaty brow and a stuffy nose when we reached 103rd street and the next influx of passengers boarded. Despite the fact that this woman had hair just as brown as mine, her bottled L’oreal Chestnut Brown was not fooling me for a second, as she was clearly an octogenarian.  

Like all of us I took a moment to see if someone else would rise to the occasion, perhaps a nice young man who’s mother is from the old country and he could never bear to see his own grandmother in the face of a strained senior citizen on the train. Apparently those nice young men were already in first period science because no one made a move, so I was forced to make my own by tapping the grandma on the shoulder and asking if she would like a seat. She did. 

As I stood in my uncomfortable shoes, with my bag weighing heavy on my shoulder and my muscles aching beneath the weight of my body I knew I had done the right thing, however, this does not in any way negate that being polite sucks ass.

B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.

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