Last week, while walking around the Chicago Art Institute, Millennium Park, the red, blue, and brown lines of the subway & "L" and the Loop, on the South Shore, up on Lincoln, or along Grand & Michigan & Washington & Dearborn & Chicago Avenues, at the Shedd Aquarium, and even at the Hancock Tower, I repeatedly and consistently encountered Polite Chicagoans. I think I heard "Excuse me", "Pardon Me", "Oh, sorry", and "'scuse me" more in the 6 days I was there than in the previous 16 years of my life. Maybe it was the fact I was wearing a suit coat most of the time - and on the trains I was pretty much the only one in a suit coat. But I think Chicagoans are by nature, a polite bunch of people. I cannot recall any such courtesies by pedestrians and rapid transit commuters in San Francisco, NYC, Paris, London, Frankfurt, or Amsterdam - all cities whose train systems I have used. In NYC I often got quite the opposite reactions from people. It is not that I was trying to get in anyone's way, I was just casually walking through the city as most individuals were on their way to work or class or wherever and they were in slightly more of a hurry than I was.
Sure, the UK drivers see your "Hertz" rental car with a rear window sticker and "give this American a wide berth" very politely on the rural highways while driving. And in Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Tokyo, and Osaka airports I've had Japanese travelers politely & silently queue up behind me even when I was not intending to form a line - in contrast to "any city" in mainland China where pushing and shoving were the norm. But the politeness of everyday Chicagoans was very noticeable, and refreshing.
1 year ago