Social Norms

Are annoying little things. They seem completely arbitrary and if you haven to get one of them wrong people look at you as if you are socially maladjusted, mad at them, or just some crazy foreigner. Crazy foreigners can get away with a lot of things by the way.

It’s not like I have Aspergers or anything, (at least I hope I don’t have Aspergers), but I just can’t figure some things out. The guy has to sit in the front passenger seat of a car for example. Or if you are taking a cab solo, you gotta sit up front. What if I like sitting at the back? The seats are wider and I am paying for it. Or when you meet people, whom do you kiss and whom do you shake hands with? And is it one kiss on the cheek or that double kiss thing that makes me feel I am an Arab, or at least a Sicilian mafioso. I usually stay at the back and wave a polite ‘hi’, or at most shake a hand. 

In Sri Lanka you have to ask a person if they want something a gazillion times to be polite. If you don’t ask them to ‘serve some more, no please go ahead, no eat more‘ at least ten times then you don’t really like them. And is it ten times, or twelve? 

Someone should write a manual. I am sure it will be a best-seller, either in the self-help category or in the comedies. 


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