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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bits & pieces

C'mon Miami. You have some sucking up to do.

Day two on my "workish" trip up north, and I've tripped across some really nice folks. Got back to my hotel last night and couldn't find my room key. Also couldn't find my little document saying I was staying there. And for a moment I couldn't find my ID. By the time I did find it, the harried front desk clerk, whom I had been certain was annoyed with me waved me off and said of my ID "put that thing away! I know you. I trust you. Here's my key. Go on up to your room and after you find your key come back down. No hurry!" I could've been a pro thief and used that key to slip in and out of other rooms. So maybe she shouldn't have been so trusting. But even though I don't believe in the general goodness of mankind (I believe in the badness of mankind, and take all good behavior as the exception, not the rule), a little trust between strangers feels good. Besides, I'm not a thief and only wanted in my own room, anyway. So it was really nice of her.

Walking to the subway this morning, I saw a parking lot attendant a half block ahead speaking to every single person who passed him on the sidewalk. I thought he was nuts or maybe trying to entice them to park in his garage or something. When I got closer I heard what he was saying: "Good morning ma'am. Have a nice day." "How are you today, sir? Enjoy your day." "Beautiful day, isn't it buddy. Take care. Be safe."

That last one was directed at me.

Finally, I feel for folks in one Brooklyn neighborhood. Saw on the news last night that some residents were starting to get ticketed by the cops/city for trash on their swales, and the sidewalks and curbs in front of their homes. We're not talking half eaten mutton chops and old diapers. This stuff is empty chip bags, old soda cans, candy wrappers - the stuff that pinheads walk by and drop on the ground when they're done with it. A couple of residents interviewed for the story said they'd told authorities before that passers by were dropping their food wrappers and other junk and that they tried to pick it up as fast as it fell, but sometimes you can't keep up. That sucks that other people's bad habits are getting these folks in trouble with the law.


  • You should take your NEW York trip as a good sign that this country is ready to commit to a community again. Sounds like people there have gotten a little nicer and kinder, unlike their counterparts here is SoFla. Strange how you can get a "Have a nice day" in NYC, but no "Y'all come back now, hear" in the South. Our capacity for hospitality here has been stretched, but is by no means broken.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 12:07 PM  

  • You can still hear "y'all come back now" in the south, it's just that south florida has a lot of really mean people. I spent a lot of time last year in Arkansas, mostly with some damned decent folks. Folks I want to go back and visit with on my own time.

    By Anonymous og, at 1:39 PM  

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