Youth and Age

Heartwarming sight of the week – and it’s only Monday – was spotting three charming young ladies clustered round a confused drunk dosser in the Vauxhall underpass this evening, checking whether he was okay. Clearly once more the mystical power of the blog has wrought its magic. And he wasn’t even wearing a hi-visibility vest.

This did something to restore my battered faith in humanity – cancelling out the grumpy sod in his late forties who got on the train at Clapham this morning. He felt there wasn’t enough space left for him in the middle seat of the three-by-two he wanted to sit in and wished to encourage the occupants of the outer seats to make a little more room for him. Now there’s a little phrase we young people use in these circumstances, something along the lines of ‘excuse me, please’ (for bonus points, we take the iPod headphones out of our ears before talking to someone else, but this is optional). But not him. ‘Budge up,’ he said, plonking himself down. Budge up. This confirms something I’ve long suspected about Britain today. If you want real rudeness; a total, thoughtless, selfish lack of manners and consideration to those around, forget the young people. It’s the middle aged that really take the biscuit…

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6 responses to “Youth and Age

  1. Couldn’t agree more, they can be so rude, but it’s just accepted. I have to say, in many years of opening doors and moving out of the way to let folks past, Middle Aged people are probably the most likely to ignore the gesture altogether.

  2. As one myself it pains me to say that I do tend to agree with you!

  3. Oh, come on – I like your blog generally, but complaining about such a harmless phrase as that? I’m sure that a) there are plenty of young people that say this as well, and b) that most people wouldn’t find this particularly rude. At least he said something rather than just subtly shoving you off. I think this is more of a class issue: what we really want from someone in his position is acknowledgement that he is inconveniencing you in some way. The actual form of the words should be fairly irrelevant (within reason), but some people prefer ‘excuse me’, some people ‘budge up’, and others .

  4. Nik – it was pretty brusquely said, or I wouldn’t have noticed it. I’d say ‘budge up’ jokingly to a friend, but never to a stranger. Although I agree it’s better to say something than just shove in (and it wasn’t me he shoved). Younger people IME either say nothing or excuse me, I’ve never heard ‘budge up’ said to an adult on the train by someone younger. Or indeed to anyone before yesterday…

    Flighty – I’m sure you are scrupulously polite

    AMP – oh don’t get me started on holding doors open – if you want to be stuck for ever doing a doorperson impression, make the mistake of holding a door to the first person in a coach trip to a museum … but if you want to be thanked, don’t bother

  5. If someone said that to me I would probably think he was a rude git, but then budge up anyway.

  6. Well, he’d already budged them up by squeezing down between them. But yeah, rude git probably sums it up

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