Impolite society

A passing bank manager took out a second can of air freshener and sprayed the ground around the tellers’ feet. The hiss of the aerosol was conspicuous in the quiet bank.

The woman pulled her cart up beside me to wait for the teller who was serving me. The bank manager told her to step away and give me space. I assured the woman that she didn’t have to move anywhere on my account and she stayed where she was.

When I turned back to the counter, the manager and I locked eyes. She looked annoyed and somehow betrayed, as though I’d failed to join forces with her.  I could feel the annoyance on my own face – and disbelief that the bank should condone this kind of behaviour toward vulnerable clients. It made me think about how much rudeness is carried out in the name of propriety.