Perhaps one of the greatest stories ever told is the one about my friend who got spat on. She was driving down a major street in San Francisco, soaking up the sun with her left arm hanging out the window, right hand on the wheel, when a big, fat, wet something came flying at her bare appendage. It was spit. A wad of it. And it came from the one-man Tour-de-France-band next to her, wiping his his mouth with the back of a glove, staring intently at the red light as though he were a Thoroughbred horse at the starting gate.
“Excuse me,” she said, turning down the radio while pointing to the slimy evidence. “YOU JUST SPIT ON ME.”
He pretended not to hear.
“EXCUSE ME,” she repeated again, willing the light to stay stagnant. “YOU. JUST. SPIT. ON. ME.”
“Do you cycle?” Lance responded.
“I’m sorry, what?” (The appropriate reaction.)
“Do you CYCLE?” he asked louder, over the hum of the city’s traffic.
“No I don’t fucking cycle,” replied my friend. “I drive a CAR, and you just SPIT ON ME.”
“Well if you cycled…” (here it comes…) “You’d know that you have to spit a lot.”
The light changed green and the camel-man took off, whizzing between cars like a stupid pedaling bee. My friend flew after him until they both came to another red light, and guess what?
She spit on him.
All of which is to say, it’s time for another round of Etiquette Lessons with me, your host, Amelia Post.
“You’re Welcome” Always Follows “Thank You”
One of you brought this up in the comments of last month’s post. Thank you for that, because “thank you” is so rarely heard these days that reciprocal protocol has been lost completely. A refresher course: “you’re welcome” always follows “thank you.” It not only completes a polite social transaction, it immediately eliminates any potential for awkwardness and alleviates the thanker of anxiety.
For example, let’s say I saved you from getting hit by a car. You thanked me. Now pretend that I didn’t respond; I just stared blankly or walked away. You’d forever be wondering, Did that person mean to save me? Did they want me to get hit? Did she know I said “thank you” instead of “wank glue”?! She totally thinks I said “wank glue!” But what is wank glue? That sounds sexual, like…you know. She must think I’m a pervert. Amelia Diamond saved me from getting hit by a car and she thinks I’m a pervert.
Whereas, if I just said “you’re welcome,” we’d all be on our merry way.
Rogue Responses in Lieu of “You’re Welcome.”
To that, it is rarely okay to get creative with your responses to “thank you” despite the best intentions. “No worries,” “No problem,” “It’s fine,” and “It’s all good” insinuate that something was wrong in the first place, or that your opening a jar of peanut butter for someone was like, the most strenuous and bravest thing ever.
Your Fingers Are Not Knives
A very fast quiz:
1) Are you Edward Scissorhands? (Yes) (No)
Assuming that the majority of humanity will select no, it should be noted that fingers are not utensils and actually, things have been created for your convenience called forks, knives, and spoons. In certain establishments you may even come across sporks, which is the skort equivalent of the culinary world. Either way, all have been designed to help you scoop up the last bit of quinoa without using your index finger. It’s cool and I highly suggest you try it.
Walking is like driving: stay to the right and keep moving. Walk-and-stoppers are the worst kind of pedestrians as they are not only rude, they’re dangerous. The second someone abruptly slams on his human breaks in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, a pile-up of bodies is created that forces a group of strangers to touch each other. There is nothing more foul than finding someone’s scalp on my nose or khaki’d balls on my back, all because the teenager three feet ahead had to stop for a VERY URGENT TEXT MESSAGE.
Don’t Spit in Public
I’m aware that spitting in public is socially acceptable in certain cultures, but in Game of Thrones it’s an insult and everywhere else it’s bodily TMI. If you have to spit — maybe you CYCLE — you’ll find that your remarkable human body is designed to swallow (!!!) and therefore, the act of expelling your saliva is superfluous.
Revenge-spitting, however, is at your own discretion.