Young mums, sometimes two-abreast and mobiles to ear, navigate pushchairs walking and talking among equally unresponsive crowds, ignoring the plaintive cries of their neglected tots.
Not surprising our society is so angry. So discourteous.
Politeness was once regarded, rightly or wrongly, as a national characteristic. Brits abroad – football hooligans excepted – still are recognised by the please and thank-yous employed when dealing with foreigners who find such pleasantries entirely irrelevant.
The gift of an example of good manners cost nothing; it pleases those who recognise it and value it while it lubricates the wheels of civilised living. What’s more, clear and concise communication between staff and clients is key to efficient and effective business.
We blame the pace of living as an excuse for careless lack of courtesy. Too busy, too concerned within our bubble to respond with any but near-bestial acknowledgement.
The manners of the playground cascade into the streets. Disregard for personal space, acute suspicion of a misunderstood glance, an accidental contact consistently degrades relationships.
Self-sufficiency sounds fine to a Me, Me, generation. Put another way, trusting no-one makes for a lonely life.
At work we tread on eggshells. The bully of the office and the factory floor is rightly, like the sex pest, named and shamed. Lately the law has embraced insensitivity. Hurt feelings can escalate to hate-crime.
So what happened to innocent fun of the workplace?
Young people polishing degrees and diplomas will have learned to be wary of any supposed slur or criticism. They’ll have become accustomed to defending aggressively what they regard as an attack on their personal territory.
On the shoulders of those welcoming new colleagues to the world of work falls the responsibility of teaching not only skills for the job but the comradeship of humanity. Sense and sensibility.
That’s what creates that state of wellbeing so many seek – but all too many find elusive.
So look up from your mobile – and smile!