Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Excuse me Thank you

I don't know if it is the signs of the times, but people are getting less patient with each other. Just last week, I was taking the MRT to work. This was on the East-West line. As usual, the train was packed to the brim and I was standing in front of a seated man, who was as fair size but I wouldn't describe as fat. He made a motion to rise, and when the train stopped, he rose and walked towards the door.

Then I heard somebody say 'stupid', and the man who had reached the door shot back with the 'stupid' word also. Curious, I looked around and discovered the source of these utterances. Apparently, the man, in rising and walking off, had dislodged one of the woman's slip-on medium-height-heel shoe. The woman looked a bit flustered and was visibily irritated. She had uttered the first 'stupid' word. Hmmm...I thought that the man should have apologised even though it wasn't done on purpose. And I thought the woman should just have taken it as accidental and kept her counsel. Apparently, this wouldn't be my only encounter.

Today, as I was riding on the crowded East-West MRT line, a woman barked out, "Excuse me!" behind me. I appeared to be an obstruction and tried as best I could to move a little forward, mindful of not walking into the seated women in front of me. Not that I was expecting any expression of appreciation, like, "Thank you", which often follows cooperation after an 'excuse me'. This woman just glanced over at me as she reached the door, silent and expressionless.

Maybe I am getting a bit too sensitive, or maybe I am expecting too much. "Thank you" seem to have fallen off people's vocabulary as we go into a recession, technical or not. And analysts are saying that this recession is likely to be a prolonged one, so I am not expecting too many "Thank you's" from now onwards. It appears that graciousness is one of the victims of bad economic times. I just hope 'stupid' does not become the 'word' of the times. A packed train can do with less moronic creatures, real or imagined.

Image source: Author: Morten Flaten

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