Netiquette. We’ve all heard of it. If you haven’t, then click here. What is netiquette? I’m tonight quite proud of myself. I’ve coined a new portmanteau: cafetiquette, a combination of “cafe” and “etiquette.” The word came to me on the tram after meeting Green Leader after work for coffee and and chat down his local cafe.
We all have our pet hates, eg:
- Squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle
- Leaving the toilet seat up
- Sharing Facebook posts without first checking facts
I have a pet hate, which is lack of cafetiquette. Let me give you some examples of bad cafetiquette.
- When Green Leader and I are talking about personal matters, please don’t sit at the table next to ours in an almost empty cafe, and then unashamedly eavesdrop on our conversation, just because the conversation is in English. Green Leader and I are not there to help you develop your proficiency in post-Norman demotic Anglo-Saxon. Go and listen to BBC World Service or watch Downton Abbey.
- When English-speakers are having a good catch-up at a table near you, please don’t butt in with, “Are you Dutch?” and then spend the next twenty minutes monologuing about how difficult your divorce was. I’ll make small talk with you, because we all want to have a bit of social intercourse when we’ve been on our own for days with no-one to talk to, but let your “table neighbours” resume their chat, please. We, too, need the co-counselling.
- Senior citizens especially (or at least, those of you in my Stadtteil), when:
- The cafe is near to full
- You and your buddies have nursed one or two cups of coffee between the four or five of you for nearly two hours
- The guy has just turned up in his cyling gear for his brunch
- Ask him, “Are you English?” (The Union Jack cycling helmet is a bit of a clue.)
- Comment on him writing his diary. No, he’s not a social worker or a researcher. He’s writing his diary because he wants to communicate with himself, not with you. Yes, he is left-handed. Yes, he has no doubt it was forbidden in your country when you were growing up.
In other words, give me my personal space while I’m in the cafe. Please.
Have a well-mannered day, won’t you!