Australian Adventures: When You Wonder if American Manners Kinda Suck

One of the bad things about people being able to stream video from their phone anywhere they have a wireless signal is that they do so while seated next to you at the airport and they do it without using headphones.

The person doing this is American. After a week in Australia, I knew that the person with the audio on his phone up to epic volume levels was American long before I told him to turn it down. I'm tired and a bit cranky so I didn't ask. I didn't do the whole polite, "Can you please turn that down?" thing. I just said, "Please turn that down because the sound is bothering me."

He replied in his all-too-American accent, "Is that too loud for you?" Then someone else sitting around us piped in to answer the question. "Yes. Turn it down, dude, before I get a mother#^#(&$ headache."

Sigh. It's not that Australians are magically well behaved. They just seem to take rules here very seriously--the photo above is of the rules--as well as the "here's how we can make this experience better for you" guidelines--for the train. If I hop on the train in Los Angeles, it's a rule that you can't eat on the train, but I still see people surreptitiously munching on Twix bars. Perhaps they don't do that here because of the price:
I never buy chocolate bars but for real, that chocolate better taste like it's gold plated at that kind of price.

Anyway, I'm wondering how we can get a bit more civil in America. I'd like that. In the meantime, there's also a child running barefoot here in the waiting area at the gate, basically terrorizing and his mother is begging him to chill out. Thank God it's time to board.


nick said…
I notice that in Oz too, that people tend to be more polite and courteous and as you say follow the rules. My friend in Melbourne is a pretty relaxed person but she can sometimes be surprisingly formal and well-mannered.

The price of chocolate over there is unbelievable. That's despite the big Cadbury's factory in Tasmania. I don't think I bought any chocolate on our last trip, it would have been a pointless extravagance.
Sarah Auerswald said…
I am often embarrassed to be an American when I see the bad manners some people have. But I think traveling in general is a stressful thing these days and I think people behave badly because of it, no matter where they come from.

Thanks for writing about your trip!
Liz Dwyer said…
I got some of that Darryl Lea 'Rocklea Road' chocolate for my family. I'd never seen it here in the states. They ate the whole thing in like two hours!

So if people there have learned to be more polite, surely we can learn it here, too. Sigh, I wish we'd learn it!

True, traveling IS so stressful these days. Ugh, I feel like I need a week to recover from the plane ride home.
My response is so irrelevant because your post is about a real problem - the lack of civility in America - and if you commute daily you really see how rude our fellow Americans are...but all I keep thinking is that's about the right price for a candy bar in NYC.

I know because I have to stop and buy one from time to time to keep from cussin' out the rude person usually sitting next to or in front of me on the bus! It's cheaper than bail money!

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