My mother’s living room is lined with paintings of nostalgic Parisian living in the early 20th century. In these grand scenes, gentlemen and ladies are often depicted lounging in formal elegance. While appreciating the beauty of such art, these moments always seemed oddly out of place to me in casual South Florida. Why bother with social graces when your life here is typified by noisy tourist traps, impatient city drivers, and petty, condo rules interference.
A turning point in my life came however on a recent vacation to Paris. Why would two people take the time to greet each other with intimate kisses on both cheeks? Why did cars give way to pedestrians in crowded intersections! How did landlord and tenant friendliness become the norm in cases of inspection violations? Could this attitude of French gentility work for me?
As I returned home, it now occurred to me that being polite to others would improve the quality of my life. Take the time to meet and greet strangers and you would make more friends. Lay off the horn and enjoy the freedom of driving. Respect the rules of my condo and learn to live with less. It is truly noble to accept this challenge of being a modern day gentleman.