Where have good old manners gone?
To British standards, the evening was warm; I was waiting at the bus stop looking at lonely Nelson standing quietly on top of his column. There was a van parked near the kerb with a hand full of yellow lights flashing insistently. A well dressed lady came towards me complaining in a carefree manner about the persistent lights impinging her vision. I clarified to her that she was in the correct bus stop and almost immediately she started telling me about the reception she had just been; her father had worked for the Kaiser in Germany, she did not like the Germans, though. Although she was born there, she had soon returned to England where she was brought up.
” My goodness me,” -she exclaimed- “you would never believe how well Prince Philip looked and he must be 86 by now…”
I had just been to a wonderful lecture and it was probably the effect of the nice glass of Rioja I had, on my empty stomach but almost without thinking I replied;
“Well… considering that he has not done a streak of work in his entire life it is hardly surprising that he is so well kept!”
The eyes of the royalist started to flash in a similar manner to those of the van in front of us and she proceeded in clarifying that I probably thought the same about their Queen. I nodded with a smile and she then broke loose in a litany of insults about foreigners coming to the United Kingdom to use the National Health and then felt that they had the right to insult their monarchy; the very monarchy that had given the country its wealth.
“Well ma’am…” –I said- “my country is passively being colonized by British people buying our land to turn it into a rubbish depot for drunken parties. There is no respect for our language, culture or environment and even our lovely bars and cafes are being converted into noisy and ugly pubs”
She wanted to know where I came from and why but in view of her constant diarrhoea of insults, I did not want my sweet country to be splashed and I refused to tell her. I remarked that I had come by accident, for no particular reason: “Was I French…? Maybe not, no, I probably came from an Eastern European country escaping my husband whom was beating me up… yeah, that was it!”
I kept my silence with the occasional comment. She then shouted; “Piss off to your country! We do not want you here! I am so glad I have met you, so that I can say what I never had the opportunity of saying before. Piss off to your country!”
At this point I suggested that she should return to her own country, Germany. To what she replied profoundly agitated that she could prove her British-ness by showing me her passport. She had to bring it with her to attend the royal reception. I said it was not necessary and she then called me ignorant.
As the 159 bus pulled in she walked hastily in front of me forcing me to step back. As I balanced backwards, once again Nelson came to view. I wondered if God should really save the Queen when there are so many other issues to attend to.