Amidst the kerfuffle of daily living it is at times difficult to maintain a sense of propriety such as one would imagine attaching to a mildly sophisticated bearing for example. The cultivation of humanity in the human race is no casual endeavour! I do of course imply that the measure of civility is one approaching the cerebral above the visceral motivations. Not that I particularly extoll the virtues of reason beyond instinct. In fact I rather prefer the gut reaction to the strictly reasoned and often prolonged analysis that characterizes much of what I find distasteful. But without dwelling unnecessarily upon that which is ultimately purely diminishing I am reminded of the useful adage to the effect that “Manners are only needed when the going gets tough!”
During the fray of an anxious moment with a shopkeeper or retailer it is easy to lapse into the vernacular. This is an ideal time for the employment of manners. We all know what is required; I needn’t recount the particulars. Part of the subliminal instruction may include a reminder that one should never pick upon a subaltern (which is a polite variation of the less obscure admonition that one shouldn’t step on someone in order to make oneself taller).
Regrettably those strict social maxims are more easily recounted than performed. Part of the problem is that customers are obliged to deal with so-called “front line workers” which is to say, staff. Owners. proprietors and managers have notoriously the polished strategy of avoiding the commotion on the ground floor. Certainly there is some merit in the perverse calculation; in many instances, time does in fact heal. The off-putting feature of that optimism is that the customer is obliged to await the magical effluxion of time usually without being informed of what if anything is transpiring.
My tact in avoiding the exposure of what exactly is behind this disquietude is a mixture of reserve, insight and native comedy. The reserve is that few if any events are worth lingering upon after the fact. One’s devotion if is more usefully directed at the present. While the maternal assurance that “everything will be all-right” is not entirely reliable, it is nonetheless more than idle hope that whatever happens, we’ll manage to cope. The patina of antiquity is paradoxically its own selling point. With time things do indeed become less punishing. The insight which figures in these daily occurrences is likely less a deliberate response as a conditioned one. If one has the luck to withstand the embarrassment of misconduct, the product however is often no more than wetting oneself in a dark blue suit; namely, a nice warm feeling and nobody notices. Thus arises the drollness.
Long ago I admitted that my writing is purely cathartic. I’m discovering there may be another advantage. Increasingly I am transported in these unvarying reflections to what I believe is a justified conclusion; namely, that nothing beyond the scope of one’s mind is controllable. Barring some metaphysical communication system, this means “There ain’t no ship to take you away from yourself; you travel the suburbs of your own mind!” This is oddly a relieving observation because it succeeds to remove oneself from the immediacy of the battle. I am assuming the conflict is initially perceived to take place outside what one considers personal boundaries.
Certainly in my eighth decade of existence the prospect of relaxing from the turbulence of existence is compelling, I just have to remember that what it looks like is my doing!