Watch the Gap and Mind Your Manners

Recently, I’ve noticed, as all New Yorkers have, a huge campaign on the part of the MTA to encourage train-riding etiquette.

Not only will you see subway ads of reminders of dos and don’ts ….

Do offer your seat to the elderly and keep the sound down!

…you will also hear announcements at Grand Central:

Cold and flu season are upon us. Cover your nose and mounh. Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm.

As I navigated the topsy turvy world of NYC transit last week, I started to think about what I was seeing and hearing, instead of passing it by as we tend to do here. Wait a second, am I being told by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to mind my manners? 

Do we really need to be told all this? But then again, we probably doIt’s sort of a friendly reminder to be good to each other, to make the commute as pleasant as possible. I became at odds with myself, both startled that Mother Corporate/Government was telling me how to act, and glad that we all had the reminder to be considerate to others. 

Which then led me to wonder, why do us grown adults need to be told to cover our mouths when we sneeze? 

The answer is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s always been this way, where society helps remind us to be nice to strangers. And since the old fashioned ideas of manners, & chivalry have declined, society needed new ways to keep order. Instead of being raised to give up your seat to a pregnant woman, you now pay the MTA to tell you that. Since there’s no etiquette classes in school, we learn in the classroom of the concrete jungle that not everyone wants to hear our music.

My conclusion is that I have only one reaction to the kindly though robotic female voice over the PA system telling me not to snot on other passengers – amusement. I don’t really know if the MTA basically being my mom is horrifying or refreshing, and I don’t really know if it says anything new at all about our society. But I am still going to laugh when it happens.

PS: Has anyone heard the other new announcements? “Don’t fall for it! Watch the gap getting on and off the trains.” I laugh every time.



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