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Etiquette in the 21st century

Janet Pole | Interrobang | Opinion | September 19th, 2005

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
I start off this column by admitting that I am a lot older than the average student who roams the halls at Fanshawe College, and I was raised by a set of very strict parents who drummed politeness, manners and etiquette into my head (and ass).

Do not speak until you are spoken to. Do not interrupt ANY conversation no matter what. Children are to be seen not heard; I can attest that this one has long fucking gone! Respect your elders. Eat what is on your plate and clean it up, even if you are allergic to it. (Allergies, schmallergies!) Sick? Who cares! As long as you are still alive, you are going to school!

Well, its safe to say that a few years have passed and a few things have changed. My most recent incident was at Shoppers Drug Mart, picking up my latest $1,000 supply of pharmaceuticals not covered by our drug plan. An older woman, who SHOULD have know better, was third in line and interrupted the cashier for help with a camera. The cashier said she would page the photo technician and did so. Another line opened up and as I was next in line, I went to my rightful place. While I was being rung in, this crazy woman starts screaming again, “Photo ” in whatever language it was she normally spoke. Cashier number 2 politely said she would page the photo technician. This evidently was not good enough for grandma from hell, because she then proceeded to yack-yack-yack on in her own little language and hip-check me, knocking me to the floor.

Normally, I would not have ended up sprawled across the floor; normally, I would have been moved about three feet sideways. But with permanent vertigo from chemotherapy I am a little tippy. So the scene is Shoppers has grown to include the photo technician who has come to see what this crazy woman wants, the cashiers from both tills who are getting me up off of the ground (I was more than a little dazed) and security who now wants to know what is going on. I happened to know this security guard personally so I told him, in that facetious manner well known in A-Wing, “She wants a f--king camera — and perhaps some politeness shoved up her ass for free would help!” Of course, she didn't understand a word I said, but at least everyone else there got a good laugh out of it as the goose egg on my forehead started to grow.

This has not been a summer of decorum — my car has been in a hit, smash and run. (When witnesses led the cops to the driver she said she left the scene of the crime because she thought she hit another car. And THAT is an excuse to leave the scene of a crime?)

Two things make me extremely nauseous — French fries and Bounce. I told my best friend Brechje at least 10 times to have her sister Maaike move her fries or I would hurl. Maaike is the biggest spoiled rotten 18-year old infant in the world —- she's in the pre-health science program at Fanshawe so bug her if she hasn't read this. (Maaike, you owe me $20 for the gourmet dinner I had before I saw you and those damn NY Fries. It was the first meal I had kept down in weeks!) I also keep Fenugreek in my car and on me at all times to keep off the queasiness. My sister, a two pack a day smoker, couldn't stand the smell of it so instead of removing it, she put Bounce sheets all through my car. When the humidex is 110 degrees, Bounce sheets melt to the plastic in your car. Now I cannot drive my car.

As you can see in this column, I have lost most of the etiquette I had drummed into me; two years at Fanshawe can do that to you. My swearing has decreased 100,000 per cent since leaving. I also admit that at the Graduation Dinner last year I was one of the 10 noisiest people in the programs. Of course, McGregor doesn't know we were usually saying, “What did he say, I couldn't hear him over Bev or those dippy blondes in the back!” Now that I have bleached my hair champagne silver — might as well have it look wild as it falls out from the chemo — so who am I to judge? Guilty as charged!

Janet is occasionally a second year student in the hospitality department, supposedly on co-op at the moment with plans on returning in January to torture two professors by re-taking their courses once again. She does not expect any help in Front Death Part Two this time any more than she excepts the Messiah to show up and clean her cat's litter box. She can be reached at
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