The New Etiquette

There are etiquette books to tell you about most everything. Thank you cards? Important. Gum chewing? So-so.

But what about the etiquette books about the important things?

Today some uh, Hispanic people came to paint our dining room wall. Now being in Texas, I can be totally un PC and say “Mexican.” So, from now on, they are Mexican. Not Chilean or Guatamalan or anything else. Not even Spanish. Nope. MEXICAN.

Anyway the Mexicans come and knock on the door and are holding paint. And I’ve seen these guys before and I know they speak Spanish to each other. So I just say “Paint?” and they come in. And eventually, while my child is busy ingesting Clorox and I’m busy making coffee, I saw “Es muy bonita.”

And the guy is all “You like the paint?”

Well no shit, sherlock. I’m trying to speak in your Native Language here. Humor me. So here’s the question: Do you speak “The language” to someone whose native language is not English? What if I’m trying to be polite and make them feel at home in my cramped little place?

And just to be an ass, I didn’t say “gracias.” I said “Thank you” when they left. I like to keep them on their toes.

And what about farting? What if you are in a quiet public restroom and you fart? Do you say “sorry” or do you laugh or just pretend it was someone else. Is it like grade school where you point and hold your nose and say “eeeewww!”

And what about when the bathroom was stinky when you walked in? And you’re all busy trying to get out of there because you don’t want to be labeled as the pooper but you have to wash your hands and someone walks in? Do you say “Woah, it’s ripe in here. Wasn’t me!” or do you ignore it?

This happened to me a lot when I worked at the Newspaper. Probably because I worked with a bunch of Shitheads.

10 Responses to “The New Etiquette”

  1. Rbelle
    December 8th, 2004 14:30

    I have been wondering about the lingering poop smell. Someone at my office is awfully poopy and must go to the bathroom 10 times a day. I am sorry for her issues, but really?! Do we all have to go into the essence of poop? And do I tell the next person– “Hey it wasn’t me?” What if she is the pooper?

  2. Robotnik
    December 8th, 2004 15:04

    Yo, this post went all over the place. I don’t even know where to start.

  3. MollieBee
    December 8th, 2004 17:20


    Sorry…it’s just that I have been in the same language situation and I never know what to do either. I guess just use english unless you are addressed in spanish. It was cool of you to try, anyway.

    I don’t know where to begin on the smelly bathroom thing.

  4. Antonia
    December 8th, 2004 17:28

    Do you know that when you smell something that it’s actually particles floating around in the air, and that if they’re entering your nostrils, so too are they invading your mouth. This means, obviously, that when you go into that smelly restroom, you’re actually tasting and ingesting someone else’s poop.

    This was very gracefully explained to me by my husband several years ago, and now I have just forced you to share my trauma.

  5. Erin
    December 8th, 2004 18:56

    omg, at my old job, we had someone on our floor we called “The Third Floor Pooper.” She was so regular, you could practically set your watch by her. Yeah, so anyway, I always hated having to run in there right after she left and was always paranoid I’d be labeled the pooper… so I’d always make a huge deal out of it when I came out… “3rd floor pooper struck again you guys… I swear it wasn’t me. ” ;)

  6. Robotnik
    December 8th, 2004 19:41


  7. Gretchen
    December 8th, 2004 22:25

    What if, just every once in a while, you ARE the pooper? I mean, it happens to the best of them from time to time, right? What do you do then? Apologize? Or refuse to make eye contact with anyone as you’re washing your hands and get out of there as quickly as you can? Or say, “Wasn’t me”?

  8. Jenny
    December 8th, 2004 22:30

    Okay, Antonia, you officially grossed me out. :) But this poopy bathroom thing happened to me last freakin’ night at work. During the meeting one of the guys gets up and takes his cell phone with him, looking like he’s gonna the call the wife. He’s gone awhile, no big deal. He comes back, the meeting ends not ten minutes later. I run to the bathroom and the poop smell was there (and now I know that it’s not just the smell :( ). I know it was him because we were the only ones in the town hall last night. Huh. I scooted out of there as fast as I could so I wouldn’t get busted as the pooper. And not to be unPC to the painters but I would speak English. It’s not like you’re Byron the Bachelor trying to impress the in-laws or something.

  9. Dawn
    December 8th, 2004 22:44

    I was wondering how you got your painting done so well. I was going to ask you for pointers.

  10. gnu backgammon
    April 4th, 2005 22:26

    gnu backgammon
    The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle. by backgammon free

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