Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lesson in politeness

People in general don't like waiting.
However, it is an all-Serbian custom to be casual to the extreme with the issue of being on time. This custom, sadly, is not exclusively Serbian, the fact that is used as justification of it. "We are not the worst ones", is often heard followed by examples of how people from some other countries are even worse than people here. Is this the best we can, to be satisfied (and proud!) of not being the worst? Should not this strike us as pathetic? I don't think it will, not ever, not here. Mostly because the masses are not accustomed to stop and think, not about issues like this, not about anything. They will be ferocious when having to wait for someone, even if being liberally late themselves. They will feel self-righteous and victimised, deprived of their precious time that could have been spent on something else - most likely something totally irrelevant, but who dares to deprive us from our right to waste our own time?
So, the general consent is that it is not all right to wait but it is to be late, especially to be the most late of all. That is our philosophy and got forbid that someone does not behave accordingly. These unfortunate souls are, apart from being condemned to eternally wait for others, also marked as fools, naives and are bestowed with no mercy nor compassion. Other nations famous for their punctuality are considered demented and twisted (there must be something seriously wrong with people that get to places on time, start events as scheduled, whose trains are never late). Masses would never think that those nations are simply being polite and considerate. Masses don't ask themselves why such nations are more prosperous. So what if they are prosperous when they are cold, inhospitable and heartless. Lucky us, when we have heart in abundance and instead of canceling a meeting at least half an hour in advance, we cancel it an hour and a half later.
Shamefully small number of people here think about others. Shamefully few has realised that I need to respect and value someone else's time if I want them to respect and value mine. That this problem has to be fixed on individual level and in our individual consciousnesses, so that it can stop to be a global one.
(photo by Tod,

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