Little Miss Manners' Downtown Etiquette

Monday, November 21, 2005


Written by Jessica Wiper

Dearest Students,

Amidst all of the lectures on regression of the mean, titration curves and Pavlovian conditioning, it has recently been brought to my attention that for many, your studies in etiquette have been neglected or forgotten. Therefore, I, Little Miss Manners, have volunteered to offer helpful tips in the ways of social graces as related to downtown life, after all, no one likes to make a social faux pas now, do we?

I will begin today's highlights on the journey downtown itself. If taking advantage of your student bus pass, be courteous to fellow bus riders, abstain from singing loudly in their ear or playing with their hair. Always say please and thank you to the bus driver, they are doing you a service after all. In a taxi cab, remember your please and thank you manners again, and always pay the full amount charged. A tip is debatable, but as Little Miss Manners, I highly recommend it.

There may be a few of you out there who won the lottery, and are therefore able to pay for gas in your own car. In that case, remember to only park in designated street parking, or in the city's parking lots, which are free on Saturdays and Sundays. Street parking is prohibited between 2 am and 6 am on most city streets.

Once downtown, there are some social niceties that simply must be observed: wait patiently in any lines, don't shout obscenities, always use designated facilities (urinating in alleys is so passé!), refrain from attacking any police officers and please use garbage cans provided (take-out containers are not for decoration of the sidewalks). If a special someone has caught your eye, please start a conversation with them and be polite, don't embarrass me by just grabbing their posterior, I'm sure you have better social skills than that!

When attempting to cross the street, and this one seems to be tough to remember, stand at an intersection and watch for that person symbol, then cross, and when there's an orange hand, that means to stay put! We all must work together to make sure no one gets hurt due to disobeying the rules of the road.

A last part of my outline for today is to remind you that downtown exists when the sun is out. I know it may be hard to believe, but St. George's Square is there before dark, with all kinds of neat shops and café's and things to do. I hope my refresher on manners has been helpful, good luck with downtown life.

Very Truly Yours,
Little Miss Manners

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  1. Posted by: Me, Just Me on Nov 21, 2005 @ 5:09pm


    What about the maniac drivers, who rarely stops even it's the pedestrians turn to walk? I really believe Guelph is the worst city for pedestrians (the drivers always ignore the walking man sign!). And believe me, I have been to many cities around the country, when I say Guelph has the worst drivers.

  2. Posted by: uter on Nov 21, 2005 @ 5:42pm

    How bout not asking complete strangers for lighters or cigarettes, unless of course you are trying to strike up a conversation, which in that case is alright. Giggidy-Giggidy

  3. Posted by: on Nov 21, 2005 @ 7:27pm

    I second that, JustMe.

    I can't believe how many times I've almost been run down by someone who didn't look before turning right on a red (usually preceeded by a complete failure to stop for the red).

  4. Posted by: Christien on Nov 22, 2005 @ 2:28am

    What a wonderful article. I quite agree also that Guelph does seem to have an unusually large number of bad drivers. I caution though, sadly are the ones that try to run us down at 2am been out on the town as well. Or have they been vexed by the number of people walking at will across the streets at any given point, or after the 'orange hand' has long been steady.

  5. Posted by: Little Miss Manners on Nov 22, 2005 @ 1:21pm

    Of course there are bad drivers my dears, there are bad manners everywhere. Unfortunately, we can only control ourselves, and not those behind the wheel. Make me proud, be polite and be safe, watch for the walk sign!

  6. Posted by: Todd Portland on Nov 22, 2005 @ 7:15pm

    Well written article Little Miss Manners. Although here in Waterloo we don't need tips how to act downtown as we are all polished individuals.
    On a different note, be sure to watch our Golden Hawks bring home the Vanier Cup December 3rd at Ivor Wynne Stadium!

  7. Posted by: Dr. E. W. Birdskunt on Nov 22, 2005 @ 7:24pm

    Nicely written article. Great job.

  8. Posted by: kyle on Nov 23, 2005 @ 3:25pm

    Worst drivers? Apparently many U of G students aren't from some of Canada's larger cities. I'm originally from Guelph and believe me, it's far worse in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, etc.

    However, I will add one more: sharing the sidewalk. If you are in a large group walking wherever, please remember to move over a touch to allow someone walking in the opposite direction to pass by easily.
    Unless that person's name is Chamberlain or Quarry...

  9. Posted by: Little Miss Manners on Nov 23, 2005 @ 8:20pm

    Good comment Kyle! I'm very impressed with your comprehension with the subject, and taking it further. You get an A+ and a gold star. It's true, there's no greater sidewalk faux pas then not allowing other to pass, we must share.

  10. Posted by: bryn on Nov 24, 2005 @ 2:51pm

    I appreciate the effort to encourage politeness and general respect for those we share our space with. With that said, the tyranny of our city with roads and regulations that descriminate against the ever-slow pedestrian or cyclist may need some press. Seeing those who do our ecosystem a benefit, may provide some contrast to the suggestion of politeness being always waiting for the walking symbol.

    If an individual makes a choice to walk less far, and cross the road without said symbol, they are not rude. They are not stupid. They are claiming some space. And maybe drivers could think about that and when they are irritated that a forsaken pedestrian crosses in the middle of Gordon they could think, "hmmmm, thanks for walking. you are doing us a favor and doing without the speed and all-weather comfort of an automobile."

  11. Posted by: Christien on Nov 26, 2005 @ 10:37am

    A novel enough way to commit suicide, and for a cause, how delightful. Bryn may I be the first to congratulate you, if you are the first to go, your family will at least have your noble thoughts to remember you by.

  12. Posted by: Shawn on Nov 29, 2005 @ 1:41am

    You know the percentage of people who suffer from j-walking deaths out of the people who j-walk is probably ridiculously small... in fact probably not even statistically significant... now the amount of people who the guelph police ticket for j-walking... that's a whole different story.

    A sustainable planet involves changing our car culture... the more incovenient it is for pedestrians, the less people will desire to walk instead of drive.

  13. Posted by: Christien on Dec 1, 2005 @ 11:11pm

    I do not think that one could ever make being a pedestrian 'convenient'. It is impossible to live close enough to all the places that you may want to go to. Do not get me wrong, I have been an avid walker most of my life, I used to walk to the University from Paisley/Yorkshire most days (and back again), sadly as my life has gotten busier, I simply no longer have the time to do that. I think in general people are busier, we are always in a hurry, we have constraints on time, remarkable really, that in an age where we talk of 'how much easier it is' generally it has been at the expense of time.

  14. Posted by: Christien on Dec 1, 2005 @ 11:12pm

    As for many of the jay walkers, the strange thing is that they are most often seen within 10-20 feet of a crosswalk. Lets face it downtown, which is the focus of the story has a large number of crosswalks. I think the furthest stretch is the one block from the corner of McDonell and Wyndham.
    Jaywalking perse is not a big issue if one does it responsibly. Look in both directions and decide if it is safe to cross the road, if everyone did this I do not think the Police would have to waste their time ticketing people. Or maybe there could be a waiver signed 'I am a jay walker and forfeit any rights to medical assistance or compensation if hit by a vehicle while crossing the road' Only thing is they would have to have some sort of marking so that the drivers know if they are fair game or not!

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