I was going to try to avoid any comment about the magazine’s suggestion that Boston comes in sixth…..yes 6th in the nation when it comes to rudeness, but when I noticed my colleague Jon Keller was taking issue with the magazine survey, I can’t resist a little Southern perspective on the subject. To me, rudeness comes in degrees of sincerity and from that standpoint, I’d tend to agree that Boston should rank a little higher than 6th.
I have often drawn the analogy between human behaviour (attitude) in the south and the folks back in Boston. Living in the South a good part of the year, it is delightful on a day-to-day basis when the grocery store cashier engages you in friendly conversation, the kid bagging your groceries says “can I help you bring this to the car Sir?” I should have smacked him, but when I graciously declined his offer, he politely cautioned me to be careful driving because the streets were a little wet and he added…”when you get home Sir, have a wonderful evening.” What nerve!! Folks all over the South are like that…..southern hospitality….sweet….nice, courteous, polite. But do they really mean it? Some suggest it’s a sincerity you can rub off with a damp cloth, but that’s OK ….. I still like it.
In Boston now, you don’t have that same hospitality, that sweetness, that courteousness. You do have the rudeness, the waving to you using only one finger, not five….but it has a sincerity to it. It’s not something you can rub off with a damp cloth…it’s sincere, they mean it….and if you doubt that…..wave back. If Bostonians are 6th in the nation when it comes to rudeness, it’s real.
New Yorkers may be number two in the nation when it comes to rudeness, but they don’t care. They’re not even aware that they’re rude. It’s just their nature. They’re not trying to be rude, like the sincere Bostonian……they just are! Los Angeles #1 in the country for rudeness? Like my friend Jon Keller, I doubt it. Folks in the land of LA, God love ’em, are too clueless to be rude…..at least intentionally. Phillie? Maybe…never spent any time there. And Miami? Not sure..I don’t speak the language there. As for Miami’s minority English-speaking population, I think we go back to the damp cloth thing.