Habits: I try to break a bad one

I’m fascinated by habits—my own and other peoples’. Maybe it is an outgrowth of being a teacher, being challenged by how different people learn. And being curious about motivation. In any case, I’ve often observed the subject nearest to hand—myself.
My worst habit—or to be honest, a bad habit I’m willing to change—is rudeness. I am a rude person from a rude family from a rude part of the country. Or, a part of the country—Manhattan—where manners differ from Santa Fe. Deborah Tanner in one of her books on communication points out how in NYC it is considered polite to interrupt a lengthy conversation with a quick question. This is very rude in New Mexico, and yet I persist. So am I polite, or rude, or just suffering from culture clash?
Well, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. The book TALK TO THE HAND by Lynne Truss was just lying around and I started to read it. It is about manners in today’s world. But even simply starting it, I was reminded of basics. Please. Thank you. And so I decided to take 24 hours and use the language of politeness at every opportunity. Excuse me. Sorry. Thanks so much.
How does it feel? Phony. Liberating. Like all practices, it gives me something to do. Instead of glaring in Walgreens and screaming “where are the stationary supplies?” for the fourth time, and re-iterating “pencils! paper! index cards!” in response to a blank look I have been substituting “excuse me” and “please.”
Stay tuned.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

8 thoughts on “Habits: I try to break a bad one

  1. I feel your pain, being from New Jersey with parents and the rest of the family from New York. It’s a culture clash. I have to practice not being rude all the time.

  2. Miriam, I think of you as polite but impatient. Does that equal rude? I don’t think so! Maybe because I share those qualities myself.

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