A Way With Words

images-1Churlish: an adjective suggesting rudeness in a mean-spirited and surly way…ill-mannered, ill-bred, discourteous, impolite, unmannerly, uncivil, unchivalrous; inconsiderate, uncharitable, surly, sullen.

Here’s what tickles me…its opposite…POLITE.

It came up in a comment I made to my friend David Stewart
greenwalledtower.wordpress.com picking it like an apple off a tree. It’s never a word I use, so go figure, yet it fits more often than not.

I can only speak for my own city, but New York has reached a level of incivility I can only describe as monumental. You see it everywhere you go. Establishments don’t require employees to be courteous anymore. You’re lucky you leave with your merchandise, exact change and the legs you walked in on. People growl instead of smile, snarl rather than wish you a nice day. And it doesn’t matter if you do first. You’re looked upon like an idiot expecting someone to care.

My naivete will never accept this as the new norm though it doesn’t seem to be changing.

This morning a man dropped his cap on the ground, so in the rain I ran to give it to him. He looked at me with disdain grabbing it from my hand. Not even a nod let alone a thank you. And that’s not to say I require one, but come on, it was his cap he would have missed when that rain came down a little harder.

I thought about it as I sat in Panera drinking coffee. He was more than a little churlish, now wasn’t he? He was downright ungracious, insolent, boorish and brash. Sassy, saucy showing a little too much cheek at 6:30 in the morning.

I do love the word cheeky, cheek’s cousin, that can have an innocent spin as well as a churlish one. To be irreverent harmlessly or cocky with one’s remarks.

Words are really a gift since they can break down human behavior where you can at least have a better understanding of why the world is spewing its unrest at the speed of light.

I’d rather take the sunny route as in polite…mannerly and cordial…ladylike, tactful, genteel and correct. Refined, with regard caring for the feelings of others.

I wish I could start a trend.

Hail Mary…full of grace…but even she doesn’t know what to make of all this.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in humor, New York City, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to A Way With Words

  1. SJ Foster says:

    Cities are like this, I here everyone say… Well, in reality not all cities are like this. I will always continue my random acts of kindness, while others tut and stamp, stammer and yell. I let someone in traffic, they roar – all finger signs. Occasionally you get that rare smile, that hope and thank you and feel that you made a difference. Albeit a little one…… Because in my mid twenties for a reason I can’t quite remember, I was crying my heart out in Victoria Station (in the centre of London), several thousand people surrounding me and a man in a suit came over handed me a hanky (one of the proper old fashioned ones) said “keep it, you need it more than me today” and went on with his day. I have never felt so comforted by anything in my life. It was random, it was lovely and it was kind. It most certainly wasn’t churlish. A really lovely post and a great word “churlish”.


  2. pmahaney says:

    In Willy Wonka what did Gene Wilder say, “Thus shines a good deed in a weary world.” The world is a tired place I think. We just have to keep paying it forward in order for it to stick. Kill them with kindness, that will teach em. Stay with it Susannah, stay with it.


  3. I have seen my share of these churlish crew, but I always try to kill them with a big cheery “hello” โ€ฆ the look on their face is worth it. Kill them with kindness is my motto!


    • Every morning at Panera there’s one cashier if looks could kill I’d be in a cemetery in Jersey. I say hello, call her by name…but the attitude is thick, like a slab of ham. I so want to take her by her name tag and swing her around the room but smile instead. An art, I’ll tell ya Top.


  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    If you get too fed up with the attitude you can always move to the north country above Albany. Of course, then, you miss all that a large city offers. Too bad we couldn’t scramble the whole state and culture to come out with a perfect mix.


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    Oh Susannah! We both posted about words today, but I doubt you will find any of mine listed in the dictionary! Churlish is the perfect word to describe some of H’s band parents – though they wouldn’t have a clue what it meant! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have a great day and stay out of the rain! ~Elle


  6. Lynn says:

    I often wonder what makes people become churlish (fabulous word by the way!) They must be filled with such unhappiness to go through life with such a negative attitude.

    Remain true to yourself Susannah. The power of your random acts of kindness or encouraging words, far outweigh the impact made by those who are churlish!


    • Isn’t it a funny word…not one we would easily use yet it has impact. I can’t help being kind…it’s in my blood. I do treat others the way I want to be treated. It doesn’t always work out that way, but sometimes it does. I will continue my Pollyanna leanings no matter what. Always nice hearin from ya Miss Lynn ๐Ÿ™‚


  7. Reminds me of the time a guy whacked my head with a pipe he was carrying in Home Depot. I yelled, “Owww” and pushed it away. He looked at me and said, “I suppose you think this is my fault!” I responded, “I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”


  8. Now I’m seeing Churlish and Cheeky as some sort of cantankerous comedy duo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was talking to a co-worker over lunch and she said she hated English. I disagreed; I love English. I see it as a wonderful mishmash of words, like a knot of colored string that looks disorganized, but every string leads somewhere, with its own hidden, obfuscated logic.

    New York might be worse than most, but I think that’s the way it is generally in many cities. It was quite a shock to come live in a small town again with everyone so effusively friendly.
    (Thanks for the mention and link, by the way. It was a pleasant surprise. ๐Ÿ™‚ )


    • Do you remember that exchange when churlish came up? I love English. So did Bill Hicks who taught me when I was bored, to read the dictionary, something I still do.

      Now Iโ€™m seeing Churlish and Cheeky as some sort of cantankerous comedy duo
      …great alliteration David. Gave me chills.


  9. Patricia says:

    Maybe it is where I live but, I think most people are pretty polite and not churlish. There are those I would like to slap up the side of the head but not too many. Very rarely do I come across a clerk or service person who is a pain…sometimes I tell them I am sorry they are having such a bad day…they always seemed surprised…like they don’t know they could be happy. And I can’t remember the last time a waitress or waiter wasn’t friendly. Maybe I don’t get out enough.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.