The greatest thing about me is how thoughtful I am. It happens to make me one of nature’s worriers. People tell me I think too much, most of the time. But like those dropped stitches in carpets, without this flaw I would be too Godlike, too perfect.
I really think about stuff. And when I say things it is after a lot of thought. When (and it usually is), men tell me that I have not thought of something or bring something up as if I had not thought of it, I tend to get a little agitated. A lot of people who disagree with me have now switched to “you think too much”. Which, as I have said, is a fair comment. But you must admit, their task of contradicting me is made infinitely easier if the only possibilities are “have not thought of something enough” or “thought about it too much”. I am just saying.
I do not like to make generalisations. No. Wait. I sort of do. I like them because they are funny. (Like when I said there were five types of International Internet person… that is my idea of a funny funny joke.)
And I use them where they are useful. It is okay to say that British people apologise when they bump into someone. Even if a few of them never do that. It is okay to say that Northern British people are tight with money. Even if some of them are generous to a fault.
But I am careful about them, especially the ones that seem mean or a little cruel. I honestly do not think anyone could analyse anything I have written and find an unqualified generalisation. My generalisations are qualified up the wazoo.
Generalisations are interesting to me. Where do they come from? Who has made them? What can be gained by making them?
For instance there are mean generalisations that have been made up in order to squash people. You have to look at these dispassionately and meet as many people from that group to make a decision on the generalisation’s provenance.
Often, generalisations disappear in your mind the more people you meet. I know it happened for me for every group I have ever heard a generalisation about. Jewish people are not all mean with money, Thai women are all not grasping whores, black men are not all cool nor dangerous, Chinese guys are not all nerdy.
Isn’t it FUNNY that I had no generalisations in my head about Danes before I came? None at all. I assumed they were a bit like the Swedes and the Dutch. You know, laid back and free? But had absolutely no idea. None.
I have an idea where the generalisations are coming from and it will not be popular.
Thursday, I went into town to do my business. I bought yarn, a magazine, a wireless router, a lamp, a bulb and went to the Kommune about a letter they sent me. That is six different Danes I interacted with. Six Danes I attempted to speak Danish to.
Three of them were lovely and kind and good. Three of them would not have pissed on me if I were on fire.
If, in a not very scientific survey, half of those surveyed are rude then you start to wonder what is going on.
My politeness is not my clean and beautiful soul poking through, it is careful and constant social conditioning. I am not polite because I expect politeness in return but because I have had rudeness tutted out of me back home. Of course, I have also been socially conditioned to take umbrage at rudeness and do something about it. There are enough rude people, God knows, in the UK to give me plenty of practice.
Of course, it is highly inappropriate for an outsider to impose their standards on an alien culture. If the Danes are truly happy in this state (where half of them are polite and half of them are DICKS), then who am I to try to change that?
Politeness is free, it does not take a lot of effort and it makes other people feel nice. If half of the Danes here “get it” what the Hell is wrong with the other 50%?