Introductions — nicely done

From an unexpected source in some ways.

Proper introductions aren’t exactly a simple matter:

The younger person is always presented to the older or more distinguished, but a gentleman is always presented to a lady, even though he is an old gentleman of great distinction and the lady a mere slip of a girl […] No lady is ever, except to the President of the United States, a cardinal, or a reigning sovereign, presented to a man.

Also:

Do not say: “Mr. Jones, shake hands with Mr. Smith,” or “Mrs. Jones, I want to make you acquainted with Mrs. Smith.” Never say: “make you acquainted with” and do not, in introducing one person to another, call one of them “my friend.” You can say “my aunt,” or “my sister,” or “my cousin” — but to pick out a particular person as “my friend” is not only bad style but, unless you have only one friend, bad manners — as it implies Mrs. Smith is “my friend” and you are a stranger.

One has to be wary of inflection, and things get even more complicated when you have to actually shake hands.

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WWGD — Heated table meetings

For those of you outside Australia, the entire continent is having some very hard times weatherwise at the moment. In Sydney yesterday the heat was oppressive–today is slated to be worse to the point where I can’t sit at my window (where my desk is) for very long.

In that context, this is what I wrote down yesterday at about 4 PM.

I used to be really worried about the space I take up (in my wheelchair). I still am really. I was raised to be quite conscious of it when I parked etc.

But I’m sitting at DejaBrew in the city waiting for a friend. There were no tables I could easily get to inside so I was aiming for a table in the shade outside. I’m having an ordinary coffee–table hire basically. I don’t think it’s the coffee’s fault. I think it’s just the heat.I’m trying to collect spoons and prepare for a all day meeting later in the week, when I need to set up and be intelligent.

There are two suits sitting next to me in the shade, with a table also shaded between us with the jacket and bag of one of the suits and his briefcase occupying.

Grey stripe suit is in charge (or wants to be), or pitching an idea and trying to look committed. He keeps eyeing me suspiciously. Younger blue suit is quieter, drinking water to the grey suit’s latte. He is clearly the one with the purse strings.

They are both engaged in the paper business of a meeting and taking three tables to do it. One for the grey suit and his paperwork, pushed against one for the blue suit and his papers. These tables seat four each comfortably. The coffee shop could seat 12 people in the shade in this space.

The craziest thing is that one table is for the blue suit to store his blazer and I got glared at when I parked there. They want a buffer perhaps. I should have just stayed there, but I felt shy.

Leaving me in the sun. Melting.

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My granny is calling …. aka WWGD

First let me say; my granny (my mother’s mother) has been dead for very nearly 10 years. So no I don’t mean she’s literally calling, or even from the grave or even in a meta-physical sense. I mean that I often wonder what she would make of the world around me. I find myself asking on the cusp of a new year;
What would Granny

  • do, (or perhaps more noteworthy not do),
  • think,
  • say (or again when would she hold her tongue), and even,
  • wear.

Those who know me offline (or, as we used to say online;  in real life) will know then I speak very highly of my grandmother and the lessons she taught me and the wisdom she held so lightly. She was in my view the perfect mix of a modern (for the time of) yet woman who knew of the value of occasion, manners, common sense and practical service of others.

I don’t know whether this has a lot to do with her or not. However, I’ve been noticing a distinct slide in the above, particularly in public. Perhaps I’m getting old, or more old-fashioned but I find myself shaking my head, more often than I used to.

This example probably makes me sound very old and grumpy.

I recently met family for morning tea at a shopping centre on the other side of Sydney where I  indulged in a fruity version of Earl Grey tea called Girlie Grey,  I caught two trains  back home to the Inner West. The journey to see my relatives was uneventful except that half a dozen schoolchildren, now on holiday to February  were somewhat boisterous in the carriage down the stairs from me, with the parents ending up joining in on the mildly rough play. You could see other commuters trying to remain focused on the newspaper or book in front of them. I’m not sure how successful they were. But really that wasn’t too bad.

Less than two hours later I made the return journey. On the train heading into Central, two seemingly unrelated women in their early 20s bordered a couple of stops after me. One had a small suitcase, and one a trolley. Both moved quickly,  but were largely concentrating on the goings-on on their mobile phones. Both  sat quickly in the vestibule area where I am required to park (the other parts of the carriage going up or down via three stairs apiece. Also at this train station  bordered two older women who proceeded down the three stairs to the carriage proper. One of the younger women smiled at me and proceeded to continue eating a banana and consulting her mobile. I smiled back.

A few stops later, but still a stop or two before her destination the frailer of the two older women climbed carefully and nervously up the stairs to enquire whether we were at a particular station. The somewhat fitter older woman, also seemingly unrelated to the other was the first to pipe up that she still had two stops until her declared destination.

It really was a smooth enough ride on the train. It was still bumpy though and the frailer of the two looked increasingly unsteady on her feet and more anxious than anything about staying on her feet.

I found myself, while parked well out of the way wanting to leap up by way of a temporary miracle if nothing else and offer this woman my seat even though that wasn’t possible because I was using my seat (my wheelchair). Between the two older women now both standing I caught the eye of the younger one who had smiled at me earlier and gestured to the older women standing around us. She smiled at me blankly and stayed firmly in her seat.
I posted the following as my status update on Facebook as we rattled through the city;

This will sound odd I guess but I wish I could stand up for people on mass transit. There is a little old lady standing on my train while two 20 somethings sit and smile. I know I can’t assume that they can stand but. Grrr I want a cattle prod some days

I can’t help wondering what would Granny do?  I suspect that even in her 80s, she would have wanted to stand and give her seat to the “old dear”.
I know this isn’t normally a  manners blog, and perhaps it was my schooling as much as my grandparent that raised me to think that that behaviour is odd. But either way that’s my two cents. Here’s two more:

I don’t see any harm in offering your seat to someone who needs it more than you do regardless of age

Though  unlike that author I think that it is not just one age group that must be reminded.

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growing my leaves

It’s been a difficult week again. A few things that will I know only seem significant to me. At the beginning of the week I had lots of writing ideas. Now I don’t. But I cane say the Willows leaves are growing again.

By Friday I had “crashed”out and was shattered so after coffee with a friend who had a dream about me, I went home determined to finish some work so long overdue. Only to discover that my other server was down and will be back today. I wasn’t feeling well enough to go out. So I googled. Within minutes I found myself watching of all things youtube videos of the American TV shows, the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. Back to back. Sad? Yes possibly. Distraction? Yes. More importantly although I am well aware it is contrived, it made me smile and hope. I almost believe now that manners are not dead, at least not yet.

I started with the London Calling season. Despite the english angle, I couldn’t attach to the women or the catyness. After having difficulty finding other seasons to watch on YouTube I found season 14 Jake Pavelka “on the Wings of Love”, and it predecessor with Gillian. A nice guy with faith and manners and some good women. Google brings up some gossip and the sad news that they are over. But as I said in the note I left on his website; it was nice to see someone who believes in manners of my generation without prudishness.

It wasn’t that I needed to renew my faith in only men per se, but humanity. It did.

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and then

PB and I were watching You’ve Got Mail tonight, the result of a time limited offer on PB’s behalf (and probably Valentine inspired as well).

Two brief thoughts occur to me.

Firstly I love courtship as one of the old-fashioned polite ways that these two modern charactors exist. I can really relate to that. In fact, I was told that I was very similar in logic to the heroine, which intended or not was a huge compliment. There is a politeness to their emails even in their simplicity, and even I feel to the way they fight, which, even at their worst seem to have an integrity and civility to them. Joe’s admission that Kathleen is beautiful although she is a pill comes to mind as does the willingness over the party table to let the other finish a sentence.

The other, more simply is the village that the Upper West Side and my wish to find “my village”, in time at least.

I know it’s a cliché, but I really want to see what happens next just so I can live in that head space a bit more often.

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Austen thoughts

I’m sitting up in bed swimming pleasently in 19th century british literature.

Jane Austen has long been a favourite of mine, both in the elegant video productions and in the books, at least those I have read, largely Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I have recently bought Persuasion following watching the recent movie “The Jane Austen Book Club” , but have not got further than five pages yet.

I mixed my technology and my love of “the old fashioned way” by downloading Sense and Sensibility through iTunes and have now commenced listening to the same novel through Audible.

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Reflections

I’ve been watching DVDs lately of Sex and the City in preparation for the movie that opens here on the 5th of June. It started out by being a pastime – a thing of lightness and fluff to compensate for a heaviness and intensity that is part of my life at the moment. Continue reading

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just as an aside

I seem to be keen on this writing thing today so

I have had until recently it seems a rather swanky diary — a day timer which i was slowly starting to rely on as my solution to organisation and generally getting things sorted. Yet somehow rather stupidly I have misplaced it. Quite seriously perhaps as it has been gone for over 2 weeks that I know of.

Bugger. I need to get some systems sorted.

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