There is nothing on this earth like being civilised. Nothing like knowing when to speak, and what to say, and what to do in any given situation. At any given moment.
To remain in control and in the present. That’s cool.
But what I am talking about is really a step beyond manners, although they are important too. Politeness, particularly in London, make you a kind of King. (And I never know whether I made that line up or read it somewhere.) Manners though are easy and should never intrude – be wary of those who take them too far. I really couldn’t give a fig for the settee and the sofa, the napkin and the serviette, and yes, those who do are the desperate and the deadly. Be wary of them. They seek to diminish you. But I have always been drawn to form. Dressing correctly becomes one, and increasingly as one goes older, no? It’s much the same as using the appropriate language. Good grammar. The correct spelling. Is it not wonderful when people make an effort?
To punctuate is to elevate.
But when you do all these little things and you are confident and mannerly and cool you allow yourself to shine really. Nothing intrudes apart from your intellect, your self, and your well-formed patient, generous character.
These people (those who can do this) are rare. And it is a sound society that recognises them and gives them space. Listens to them and not to the shouty, prescriptive, brash, to the awful….. We should accommodate the clever, the civilised and the educated. Strive to make this the ideal.
Because when they are shouted down, or worse when they no longer step forward at all. Then we are in trouble. When these people wander about, baffled, ignored or derided or set apart as eccentric then we are moving in the wrong direction.
Then there is something rotten. Something missing. And yes, perhaps this is about getting older. But might there be something in it despite of that fact.
Manners, being civilised, is really a rather wonderful thing, and more that that, it’s all we have.