What really grinds my gears close

Nick Woodbine
Nick Woodbine
In Grinds My Gears
20th April 2011
What really grinds my gears

It is the day before Third Thursday, I'm sat in the garden at 9am waiting for an electrician to come and fix my lights, delaying a meeting and my work day so that I can actually see when I am in my house at night. The only problem is the electrician isn't coming. He didn't call me to let me know, oh no, that would have been too courteous. Instead I had to phone him (he wasn't there), speak to his wife and find out he is in Malaga, playing golf. I am torn between LMAO and WTFing, although the WTFs are edging it.

Courtesy seems to be one of those things that was thrown out with the Betamax and horse-drawn travel. Left spinning in the wake of the million-mile-an-hour lives that we lead like a hubcab on a motorway hard shoulder.

Well I, for one, want it back. I want to say 'Good Morning' to people on the street without seeming like a deranged social misfit and I want them to say it back (it would be even better if gentlemen wore hats again so we could doff them to passers-by). A 'thank you' when I hold the door for someone or pull into a gap to let another car past shouldn't be too much to ask should it? I want to live in a world where electricians don't disappear to play golf without so much as an apologetic phonecall but turn up, on time, in neat overalls to fix my lights. COME ON PEOPLE!

In part I blame the Internet. It removes the need for social interaction; why talk to someone when you can type what you want to say in 140 characters? The Internet and its bedfellow Brevity have taken our beloved 'yours sincerely' and replaced it with the semantically nonsensical 'best regards', with its cold, disingenuous implications. Suddenly it is fine to not capitalise the start of a sentence because 'it is only an email' (I'm looking at you Aidan Kane) and there are countless other charges to be levied against our digital world. Mrs Elliot, who taught me how to structure correct, courteous English, would be turning in her grave (although I think she still lives in Norwich).

As an Internet professional I suppose I should shoulder some of the blame for this. I do try to rage against the storm of discourteousness in my own little way, haranguing production teams to write sincere and genuine Thank You pages on our sites or penning beautiful, thought provoking and engaging automated emails but I fear I am fighting a losing battle and it saddens me greatly. This shameful passing of courtesy, my friends, is what really grind my gears.