Friday, 10 August 2012


After all, it is 2 o'clock 
in the damn morning!

I was watching a movie at 2 a.m. in my bedroom the other night, because not a lot else goes on in my bedroom at 2 a.m. and also because I'm an insomniac. Right there, I've hit upon two topics that might be interesting to explore in another post, but today we are staying on course. We are talking about manners and social skills.

So I was watching Country Strong at what I consider a reasonable volume. I live in a townhouse and I try hard not to be a bad neighbour, having had a few of them in my time. (Oh, I could tell you stories. But again, staying on course. I feel I'm making real progress here. Perhaps a reward is in order?)

So anyway, I'm watching Gwyneth and thinking, hmm, she's not bad, who's that cute guy, I'm hungry, etc., when I hear this pounding at my front door. I ignore it at first. I don't answer the door to strangers during the day, so I'm sure as hell not going to open it at 2 in the morning.
Then the doorbell starts ringing furiously, like a slot machine on "jackpot." That does it. I storm down the stairs and whip open the door.

And standing there is a woman I have never seen before.
"YOU," she huffs, "need to turn down your damn stereo! It's 2 o'clock in the damn morning!"
For a brief, fantastically enjoyable moment, the movie camera in my mind plays a reel of me slamming the door in her unfamiliar face while simultaneously flipping her the bird AND calling her a name that we will never, ever lower ourselves to repeat here.

But then I realize that this is what modern young moms refer to as a "teachable moment." (Not to be confused with a "spankable moment." Those were big in my day but are frowned on now, as are disposable diapers, soothers and other things that worked like a charm. . . . What IS it with me and digressing?)
I decide to teach this woman that there's a right way and a wrong way to say everything.
For example, if someone is blocking your view at the movie theatre, all you have to say is, "Excuse me, could I ask you to move just an inch or two to the left please?"
If someone butts in front of you in the Timmies lineup, simply say, "I was in front of you, actually, but it's okay. I'll let you buy me a coffee to make up for it."

And if your neighbour's noise is bothering you at 2 o'clock in the damn morning, simply say, "I'm sorry to bother you so late, but would you mind turning your TV down a bit?"
Most people will gladly oblige, and apologize as well. 
You'll encounter the odd cretin who'll tell you to bugger off, but you can always leave a burning bag of dog poop on her doorstep the next day. Strange how satisfying that can, or so I've heard.

I'd love to end this story by saying the rude stranger and I brokered a truce and became friends. Alas, after a flurry of huffy exchanges, I learned that A) this woman is staying with my neighbour B) I have more couth in my left armpit than she has in her entire body and C) some people simply aren’t “teachable.”
As for the movie, well, I just went in and turned it off. It wasn’t that good anyway.