All entries for Sunday 20 November 2005

November 20, 2005

Appropriate politeness?

Follow-up to Gentlemanliness and whether it has a place nowadays from Musings of a blonde

Having started a longish debate about gentlemanliness recently, the other morning I was caused to think about politeness in general, and how you make your responses appropriate to the people you meet.

There is a blind man with whom I often share a bus from Leamington to campus at about 9 am in the morning. On the morning in question, I was sitting by the window and he came and sat next to me. As I am a biologist, I had to get off the bus at Gibbet Hill. As soon as the man sensed me moving he turned so that I could get past. I thanked him, but through some deeply-ingrained reflex I thanked him in an obviously more enthusiastic way than I would ever thank someone without a disability.

Now what was his reaction to this? It annoys me that I don't know. Do disabled people appreciate being treated with extra care because it makes life easier, or do they just want to be treated as 'normal'? And probably, in the case of the gentlemanliness debate, it completely depends on the person. But how do you ever know how to avoid annoying people?

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