Thursday, 24 November 2005

Manners maketh man

(William of Wykeham: motto of Winchester College and New College, Oxford. Not really relevant but I couldn’t think of another title)

I was hurrying along a crowded London pavement when I collided with a man going in the opposite direction. It was 90% my fault because of my carelessness and 10% his because of his width and swagger.

It felt like walking into a concrete block. He was a head shorter and many pounds heavier than I: shaven head, earring, tattoos, biceps stretching the sleeves of his T-shirt.

He looked up at me with little piggy eyes in a totally expressionless face, and for a second or two I considered my options: humbly express my profound regret, or run like hell. Neither seemed hopeful: he did not look like a man who would be likely to accept an apology gracefully, and even on his short bandy legs he could probably run faster than me.

But before I could do anything at all, he said: "Sorry, mate".

Makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it? And ashamed of stereotyping.

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