For a liitle while now, I have noticed that letters from civil servants often begin "Good Morning".
I'm not doing one of my usual moanings. This mode of address is miles, leagues, better than those ghastly letters and emails beginning "Dear John", from people with whom I was unaware that I was on 'Christian name' terms. Especially when I have never seen them and have no desire to graduate to 'Christian Name' terms with them. And "Dear Sir or Madam" does seem horribly laboured. And, like most English clerics, I wince almost out of my skin at "Dear Reverend" or "Dear Reverend Hunwicke". The propagation of this particularly nasty vocative is, I think, the one thing I resent most about the intrusion of American culture, especially that of Whispering Glades.
I'm just curious. When did "Good Morning" start? Is it another Americanism?
But here is a thing I really do dislike: being addressed (especially when with my wife) by waiters as"Guys". I was brought up to identify 'guys' as a masculine term ... but, I suppose, increasing numbers of the rising generation are unfamiliar with "Sir" and "Madam", or would dislike implicitly identifying themselves as being of the 'servant' class. "Guys" is breezy, friendly, informal, egalitarian, sexless. I loathe it. I suspect this is an Americanism. Yes?
Nor do I enjoy the imperative "Enjoy". Since when was it proper for servants to give orders? And even if one is a host at a dinner party, it is customary to wait for one's guests to gush about how 'enjoyable' they found the food one set before them.
Most of all, I dislike being interrupted by waiters or waitresses with "Is everything alright?" They do this (1) if they spot that some member of a party is imparting information or telling a story; an anecdote, perhaps ... or especially a joke which needs careful structuring to ensure that necessary information is imparted and the climax neatly delivered. Being 'Waiters' they wait and watch carefully; then, at the most disruptive moment possible in the narrative, they walk up and shout loudly at the entire table "Is everything alright, guys?" Nobody, clearly, has ever suggested to these dim, gormless, mannerless, and witless children that it is Bad Manners to interrupt anybody, but especially one's elders.
And (2) they do it when I am just at the point of leaning over a table for two and looking into my Wife's eyes. Savonarola was never such a puritan as Modern Youthful Waiting Persons; their ethical antennae simply cannot tolerate the possibility of Affection being openly displayed, in foro publico, between heterosexual persons around the age of eighty. One can almost hear them thinking "The disgusting old man ... I'd better go and put a stop to that ...".
The Waiting Community does clearly have Principles, God bless them. I always feel how well-qualified I am to give them intimate advice about where I would very much like them to put their Principles and how long I would urge them to keep them there.