Hats off. “Wearing caps indoors is such an American thing,” Blazak points out. “They have to station monks in the grand cathedrals of Europe to tell Americans to take their hats off.” Unless you’re at, like, a McDonald’s on the highway, or you recorded “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with Art Garfunkel, no hats indoors, period.
Your incessant documentation of “the moment” is ruining “the moment” for everyone else. Yeah, it’s totally neat-o that you can shoot QuickTime movies on your fancy new Slvr. But people pay to go to concerts so they can have a clear view of the stage unobstructed by camera phones held interminably aloft.
A corollary: Nobody needs to know where you are at all times. Especially the people you’re with—or the strangers around you—who have to endure your locational cell calls. “We’re on the runway, fifth in line for takeoff.” And “I’m at the Animal Collective show—they’re awesome, dude! Listen!”
Another corollary: Your cell phone is not a get-out-of-lateness-free card. Don’t call your friend—or a business associate already waiting at the lunch table—to say, “I’m just heading out, I’m running late, blah blah . . . ”
Yes, you really do have to send a handwritten, snail-mailed thank-you note. Not just an e-mail (or, worse, an IM). If you’ve been hosted at someone’s home—if that someone went out of his way to offer you hospitality—you can spend the three minutes it takes to send a note. (Head to www.crane.com or smythson.com and order a box or two to keep on hand.)
No streaming anything—streaming audio, YouTube videos, stream of consciousness—if you work in an open office. Save it for when you’re home alone with your MySpace page. In fact, here’s a good overall modern-manners rule of thumb: If it’s acceptable on MySpace (e.g., ass-flashing, sexual innuendo, and nonstop drug references), then it’s probably not in real life.