It was a big deal! You would never say “what” when you didn’t hear part of a conversation, you would politely say “I’m sorry”, or “excuse me” using the interrogative higher voice pitch at the end of your question.
I had the pleasure of spending most of this summer with international college students. I was always asked “what”, when someone didn’t understand my standard New York-ese. Wanting to correct the apparent lack of correctness, I none the less decided to let it go each time . My previous corrections were met with “I know”, and a sarcastic roll of eyes upward.
Open doors, leave things as you left them (not as you found them), interrupting conversations, and finger licking at meals (worst nerve-destroying habit anyone could have) all seemed perfectly normal to my summer group! Not to mention running excess water at the kitchen sink, what happen to conserving? I had to point out that water was finite, to each and every chore-doer, as they looked at me with complete astonishment.
What happened to the need to have manners, universally it seems to have disappeared, along with common courtesy. What is courtesy, as opposed to manners? I believe that courtesy (which may be equal to “politesse”) will definitely lead to good manners, which eventually leads to “good breeding” (and invites to all the right parties, including Frat parties). Of course, my summer students were mainly here to improve their English grammar, but I thought that courtesy should be added to that.
As they streamed out, to spend a few days visiting other cities prior to heading back home, I wondered if anything would really stick.
Some actually did make it a point to say “thank you”, and wave, so that was nice! While others waited to the last minute to pack, find a place to stay, and interrupt as though this should be my emergency. Their excuse: students are notorious procrastinators (no argument here). I told the housing-emergency students, “I have no idea who this guy is, but he looks nice. Besides, this is New York City, take a chance! If you die you die, if you live it’s about a NYC experience!” One student swallowed hard, and seemed to hyper-ventilate, saying yes, and shook her head as she breathed deeply. Checking my email we confirmed their stay. The guy I didn’t know turned out to be an amazingly graciously kind host, typical I thought of NYC dwellers.
“Oh yes”, I say as they march out, “remember to buy your hosts a nice gift before you leave, and remember to have fantastic life”!
With College upon us, it’s a great time to consider turning dorms into homes, for at least a semester. An organized room is sure to be inviting for hours of study, and rest. Right?
I’ve added organizational tips, and creative ideas on: youtube.com/user/LifeDelicacy