Sunday, June 25, 2017

Well mannered and sorry


The one word  said most often in England, is "SORRY". Sorry /not sorry but well -intentioned.  The civility of the British is admirable,  Understated rage, understated joy, understated insults, they are well practiced and use exquisite vocabularies to  dismiss you or dress you down, and make you feel very good about it.


Reading "SORRY! The English and Their Manners" by Henry Hitchings,    taking it in small doses, packed with rules,  contrivances , historical and outdated hilarity , frustrating, but most of all Charming- civil.


Where to draw the line between being mannerly- and being disingenuous. Not sure.  America is such a baby with it's habit of blurting without too much thought or regard for the other person's  feelings -  without   delicately  dancing around issues using gentle language and a bit of  self depreciation . Blurting is messy, though genuine, and passionate, generally speaking- one can pretty much trust that what is being regurgitated is truly what it is, and isn't that why we are in the pickle that we are in... There is no code breaking, which the British have plenty of:
 "interesting"= tedious nonsense. 
a BRAVE plan= an insane one.
"Quite good"= disappointing
"It's my fault"= It's your fault
"I shall bear that in mind"= I'm going to forget that immediately
The intention is not to deceive, it is to be civil, to be kind. 
  England's well mannered lives make coming back to America feel like re-entering  a very  bad middle school specializing in bullying ,  a thick skin is essential, otherwise there will be crying all day, every day and the wringing of hands until  they become ineffectual stumps.
Discourse has become extremely  volatile since this Orange administration has shat on the entire nation, hand in hand with the KKK, the NRA, and the Bannon agenda of " scorch the earth". 
America is such a child with a toddler at the helm- little wonder Britain offers respite.
Yes, yes, May is a jerk and Brexit sucks, but, the population remains as they have always been, delightful, charming,  thoughtful...and sorry. And will offer an old lady a seat on the tube every time!!


2 comments:

  1. Love that code breaking list. I lived in London for part of my childhood, and this rings completely true.

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    1. I am never certain about what is being said. or implied, but I rarely feel bad about it because well, you know.. the British have skills!I think that the worst hing ever said to me there was " hmmm, clever"...which can mean so many things, right?

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