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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Thursday, March 09, 2006

First contact, first kudos

If there is anyone out there who claims they never make snap judgments on other people based on their appearance they are lying like a my opinion. But that's OK. Few of us want to admit such a prejudice, 'cause we think it makes us come off as uncultured and unworldly and maybe even some bad word that ends in "ist." Honestly though sometimes it just means we're human and we've bought into the hype about what makes the man or woman.

I make snap judgments all the time. I usually find myself later doing a Homer Simpson - you know, "Doh!" and slapping my forehead - when I learn my assumptions were wrong.

One of those times was earlier today, when waiting to board my train -no, I'm not a hippie, but I do dig public transpo - I saw a young man in his late teens/early 20s come running for the train like O.J. through the airport in a Hertz commercial. He sported a crazy 'do, crazy clothes - not raggedy or anything, just out there for my tastes, and a sullen look.
  • First, I thought "He's worried he's gonna miss the train."
  • Second, I thought "No way he's gonna miss the train. We've still got a minute till the doors close and he's 10 yards away at most."
  • Third, I spotted the elderly woman with the roller suitcase in tow at the steps of the train door closest to me.
  • Fourth, I observed my sullen friend boring holes through suitcase woman with his eyes and making a beeline for her position.
  • Fifth, my heart began to beat a little faster 'cause I jumped to the conclusion that he was gonna knock her over, grab the suitcase and run. And I was asking myself if I had the wherewithal to step up if necessary and defend the woman. I didn't have time thankfully to answer that question, 'cause...
  • Sixth, my Homer S. side came out seconds later as I watched the young man stop on a dime a foot from suitcase woman and ask her softly if she needed help. She nodded with such a look of relief, 'cause apparently she'd been standing there with oblivious knuckleheads like me just feet away unable to get her suitcase up the steps. The young'n smiled at her, and as she gripped the handle of her suitcase he squatted and lifted the heavier end up the steps and onto the train. He then walked her to a seat in one section of the train, smiled again, nodded and strolled away to sit in another section.

Hey, credit where it's due. That kid had good manners and exercised great Burnettiquette. And me? I'm a chucklehead who is trying to learn to make fewer assumptions.


  • OMG, you're everything we've ever wanted, a gentleman, WHAT'S THAT? And a breath of fresh air ... man, the more polite people like you in this town, and I won't have anything to make fun about! Rats! Takes a polite person to know one, eh? Keep it up, honey.

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 12:35 AM  

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