I’ve noted in previous postings (at least I think I have…) that since we’ve moved here, we’ve noticed a distinct level of politeness that is quite different from the typical public conduct we saw in Boston. It may be a West Coast versus East Coast thing, or perhaps (as many others have pointed out) a Canadian versus US thing. It could also be due to the fact that Boston is well-known as the rudest city in America (particularly with regard to drivers). I’m not sure, as if all reasons are correct, perhaps we experienced a triple-whammy increase (Boston to not-Boston, East to West, US to Canada) in politeness.
Last year, we weren’t out as much around Christmas and New Years. We were both not employed yet, and perhaps not as bold as one eventually gets when it comes to venturing out in bad weather. Therefore, we didn’t get to experience the truly astonishing behavior that is Christmas Season Best Behavior West-Coast Canadian Politeness.
I can’t recount any particularly memorable examples of this, but I am constantly seeing strangers holding doors for one another, nodding and wishing each other well, cars waiting while pedestrians cross, and hardly honking their horns when someone is holding up traffic. The tellers at the bank are extremely courteous. The sole exception was a rather curt fellow who took my photo for some Immigration paperwork at the mall today. Still, he wasn’t rude; just not up to the triple (or now, quadruple)-level politeness of everyone else.
I wonder if there’s a drop-off in the public courtesy quotient in mid-January. Does the February Valentines Day build-up change this, or is this holiday only intended to be a modifier of behavior between couples?