It’s a known fact that people need space to feel happy; space from other people, from societal rules, from noise, from congestion and from agitation. That’s why so many of us dream of having a little pocket of earth that we can call our own – a space where we can be our own autocrats and be left in peace. With the population on the rise and the surface area of the earth largely unchanged, this notion of owning a patch of dirt is becoming less realistic. It is therefore imperative that we use common sense and show each other some consideration in our every day dealings. With this in mind, I have devised a list to help you, help your fellow man and woman.
1. In Australia, we drive on the left side of the road. The same rule therefore applies to walking. Keep to your left. Why? Because it’s the logical thing to do, and because the whole footpath is not your own private playground, unless of course you privately own a playground with an inbuilt footpath. That would be pretty cool. Remember, the space on the right is to be reserved for oncoming foot traffic. When in doubt, use your local road rules as a guide.
2. Do not sway, meander, or stop short when walking on the street. It’s incredibly annoying and chances are you’ll wind up with someone running into you and knocking you off your feet.
3. If you’re a pedestrian walking from point A to point B, and the driver of a vehicle stops to give you way and allow you to cross when they were not required by law to do so, say thank you. This can be done in several different ways; by mouthing the words “thank you,” lifting your hand and giving a little feminine wave (the "thank you wave" is always slightly feminine in nature, don't ask me why, it just is), or smiling while nodding your head. Exercise caution with this latest method, as the smile only works as a sign for “thank you” when used in conjunction with the nod. Otherwise, the driver might think you are just being a smart arse – ironically, not a smart thing to do when they are in a car and you are crossing in front of them with no protection around you but your own self worth).
4. Make saying “please” and “thank you” a habit. While this is almost always good practice, over-using these words can empty them of all their positive meaning and make you seem insincere and robotic.
5. If you see a queue, line up at the end of it. Don’t try and sneakily get ahead of someone else unless you ask them first, and/or you are experiencing an emergency situation. You can always try to queue jump by pretending that you haven't noticed the line of people standing in a fairly orderly manner one behind the other, but this is difficult to pull off successfully unless you are visually impaired or senile, in which case, you can get away with almost anything. Of course, you can always try your luck pretending that you are visually impaired. If you do this, I don't recommend squinting. It's too cliché.
6. Work on ensuring you exercise appropriate voice control. At kindergarten, children are taught the difference between using their ‘indoor voice’ and their ‘outdoor voice.’ Many people could use some refresher training on this topic. When in doubt, I have a top tip to help you decide which voice is appropriate to use in different situations. Look around you, seriously, stop with the squinting already. Right, now if you see that you're surrounded by walls and a ceiling, you're indoors so it's appropriate to use your 'indoor voice.' If you have forgotten what your 'indoor voice' sounds like, it might be an idea to watch the movie Billy Madison. Not because it will remind you of what it was like to be a child, but because it's a funny and entertaining movie.