The Danger in City Manners

Shopping in Oxford Street (file picture)Please and thank you; those two words will get a person very far in life. Minding your manners and having good etiquette is very important in our society. What they don’t teach us as children is that social etiquette in a place like New York City, where I am from, triumphs over any please and thank you that you spew out.

Erin Taylor describes this idea of a social etiquette. The main way to display social etiquette in the city is to separate our selves from the world around us, essentially to create a barrier. Books, phones, music, are all things that constitute barriers. It’s this idea of minding our own business that strengthens the barriers we put forth. Not being seen as nosy and keeping out of harms way is what we strive for through putting up these barriers. In New York, it can be seen as very disrespectful to interject into strangers conversation, no matter if you are fond on the topic or not. Not barricading ourselves is out of the social norm and as said by Taylor, highly frowned upon.

Social etiquette and barriers we put up may be nice on occasion, but it can also be very dangerous. Crimes that are not unknown to take place in the city can all unfold right in front of you, but the strict and in place social barriers instilled upon us can cause us to hesitate and not react. More often people should come out of their social shells and step back to see the world around them. Open their eyes to sights and sounds that they normally block out.