Let’s be free spirits and hang the rules! Oh yes, the rules that governed the fifties are no longer relevant. Ten things you don’t have to do any more, unless you actually want to:
- Avoid hanging washing out to dry on a Sunday.
- Wear a tie to church (men only).
- Wear a hat to church (women only).
- Eat your evening meal seated at a table.
- Writing a thank you letter, a text will do.
- Listen to your elders, what do they know?
- Answer phone calls away from other people, so as not to disturb others.
- Stop swearing in public.
- Wait for everyone to be served before starting a meal.
- Stop at a red traffic light.
Wait a moment…numbers 1 to 9 on that list are no longer expected by all in the 21st century. If you look at numbers 4 to 9 you may see that although it is now commonplace to see people ignoring these guidelines, good manners would dictate that you still refrain from these actions. Whether it’s writing real thank you letters, holding back from swearing in public or waiting for everyone to be ready before you dig into your lasagne, these are all highly desirable and whilst they may no longer be obligatory, they are all signs of civilised folk. You can send a text to Aunt Flossie to thank her for the cheque for £25 (which you had to find an actual bank in order to cash) but you might give her the surprise of her life if she receives a text on the mobile which she ‘only uses to make phone calls’.
Equally, you can pretend to listen while Uncle Albert is telling you about his days in the army or you can actually do him the pleasure of listening properly and take an interest in his army japes and death-defying near misses.
There is no rule that you must take your mobile away from a group in order to answer a call and indeed, on trains people chat away on the phone, regardless of who is being forced to listen. Good manners would dictate that you keep your voice down at the least and move somewhere more private if at all possible but as you will know to your cost, these are not rules followed by many people.
We are not so hung up on rules nowadays, although many of the old rules are seen as good manners and are still desirable to promote the good of the many, over the loud voices and actions of the few.
The last item on the list though, stopping at a red light, that is still compulsory, isn’t it? I ask because you wouldn’t know it if you sat at any set of traffic lights in my city. It used to be that you went through the amber if it would be dangerous to stop. Now, drivers accelerate when they see the amber light and then as many pile through on the red as possible. When the drivers in the other direction start moving there are frequently a couple of stragglers still turning. I know that you’ll understand what I mean because it’s everywhere. Each driver seems to think, ‘poor me, I’ve waited so long at these lights, I deserve to go across’. Even worse, is when the last few drivers don’t clear the junction but then queue directly across the other carriageway, you know who you are!! As for motorbikes zooming down the middle of the road over hatched areas, don’t get me started!
As far as I know the Highway Code is still taught as part of the driving test and is not open to personal interpretation. Good manners and many rules are based on a bit of order to keep everyone safe and well looked after and help us to live harmoniously together. So let’s forget about wearing hats to church but I would welcome a return to drivers stopping at red lights.
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