Meditation on Manners

As I sit puzzling over what to do with the extra fork beside my plate, I begin to worry.  What will they think of me – not knowing this seemingly important point of etiquette?  I was not, as my mother always told me, “raised in a barn.”  Suddenly, the person next to me leans over, “Do you know what to do with that fork”?  I had been talking to her prior to the meal and I found her charming, intelligent, and kind. It never occurred to me to think less of her for not knowing what to do with the fork.  I smile conspiritorially.  “I don’t know either.  Let’s choose a function and as long as we both use them for it, people will think we know what we’re doing.”  She laughs and agrees.  We have cemented a budding friendship by working through our mutual fear and discomfort together.  What good manners we have!

Tenessee Williams quote