Tuesday, February 2, 2010

farmdoc's blog post number 653

June Dally-Watkins (pictured). Her name’s imprinted in my memory. But I’ve never taken the trouble to find out much about her and her achievements. Luckily the octogenarian was NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2009, and hence this brief bio. A remarkable woman, she’s been called ‘Australia’s guru of good manners’. An antipodean version of Emily Post. Which is why she features in this item in last Friday’s Age. Titled ‘Uncommon courtesy’, it’s about motoring etiquette. Our June, a male motoring expert and a male comedian respond to five motoring scenarios. Their responses intrigued me – firstly because I found them age and gender specific; and secondly I was eager to compare them with my own responses. I’m 62 years old, i.e. old enough to conclude with some authority that today compared with say twenty let alone forty years ago, our society’s less courteous and respectful, and more hurried and dismissive. And angry. Twenty or thirty years ago, road rage was almost unheard of. Now it’s endemic. I wish Ms Dally-Watkins’ views on etiquette – on and off the road – were mainstream today. But they’re not. And it’d take a miracle for them to be so in the future. As our cities grow inexorably larger, the need for courtesy, tolerance and patience increases commensurately. But I think our societal level of these three variables isn’t increasing; it’s decreasing. And the implications aren’t something to look forward to. Any ideas, June?

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