Please, Thank You - Hello, Goodbye: Living In Polite Society
Is Port Moody a bit weird? How often do you hear people saying "Good Morning" to the bus driver? Perhaps that isn't so strange sounding to you and we Canadians are known to be a polite bunch, but how about the people leaving the bus saying "Thank You"?
Yes this happens very often here when people are leaving the bus and not because the people really know the drive well either. To them it seems the right thing to do and it seems when some people are doing it then others will follow suit. Perhaps only a quarter of the folks will be saying "thank you" to the driver on exiting the bus - and I should mention here that it is not just when they exit the front door beside him, but the automated rear doors where they call out a cheery "thank you". I know it makes me more likely to say "thank you" as well.
I know there are practical reasons for saying "thank you" as you exit the bus at the rear doors - for one thing it lets the driver know someone actually is there and exiting; just in case the system has failed and he doesn't know the doors are still open and someone is exiting so that he doesn't start driving while they step off. I really don't think that is why people do it here.
I think it has to do with being a part of "polite society".
I do ponder on what "polite society" means besides perhaps obsessively following arbitrary rules on what to say when and in which situation. For now, let's forget about things like men standing when a woman enters the room or which fork to use with left handed dinner rolls. I am thinking of the very basic stuff in a polite society like saying "Hello" "Goodbye" "Please" "Thank You" "Excuse Me". Now of course these are verbal things and not physical things like the "Good Deeds" you might remember that Boy Scouts are supposed to do each day like helping little-old-ladies to cross the street.
One thing I realized when trying to figure out how to translate "Hello" was that essentially saying "hello" simply was an acknowledging of another's coexistence with you in this world. Many greetings seem to be asking how someone is: "Howdy" - "Howdy Do" - "How do you do?" But really for the most part many are not really interested other than acknowledging the other person. It might sound silly, but compare that with simply being ignored - you sit in a room or clearing in a wood and someone enters - they say nothing or they say hello - even if they are a stranger and there is no intent to speak, it does make some acknowledgement which improves how things move from there.
I think that "Please" might be looked at in a similar way - not looking at formal situations where there is formal protocol - that even if there might not be a real matter of much decision or choice there is an implication that a choice is nicely there. I am thinking along the lines of "Please pass me the potatoes" verses "Pass me the potatoes." With the "please" it implies a choice - I think even if it is totally expected that the potatoes be passed (or else Mom and Dad would get ticked off.)
I think politeness and graciousness just make the place a bit nicer and more comfortable to live in. Like a nice cushion on a hard bench. The bench is still there and usable without the cushion, but the cushion makes it more comfortable to use and at times... the cushion might even prevent injury like blister and bruise on a long cruise on a bumpy lumpy road in the back of a truck.
I think perhaps a "Thank You" might get glossed over on the bus, but I think that I have noticed a well placed "Thank You" or sincere "Good Morning" put a smile on a bus driver's face as well as a few others on the bus - once or twice the next stop after I noted the bus driver having been cut off on the road. It doesn't have to be from a pretty-young-thing or a child or anything like that, just a sincere bit of politeness and gratitude.
Life, I like it that way.