Extreme Manners

A pleasant good morning! What an extraordinarily polite way to be greeted on the telephone, or in person. Kindly hold, we are told. It’s so nice to be spoken to like that. Are you getting through? Such a considerate sentiment.

Jamaicans can be courteous to a fault. We can drown you in pleasantries. And with wonderful inflections, too. Visitors here feel smothered with such good manners. They are seduced easily by the charm. They talk about it when they return to their rude environs.

So who are all these rude people here that we often run into? They must be from some other island, or from up north. “Boss ah beg you” precedes the most demanding favours. “Gimme a smalls nuh!”

At the stoplight, we want to go before it changes when we see the jinals approaching, especially those with fake handicaps. On the highways, cars crowd our lane as they squeeze through to God knows where. And the taxis are the absolute rudest! Cho!

At any counter, the last customer demands immediate service, oblivious to a queue of patient people. And want to argue if we point out their infraction. At our yard, people pop in to help themselves to whatever fruit there is, whatever the season.

We hope you can tell us how such extremes of manners can exist in one place.