Polite And Quick.

This is an extract from a short story in the book Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami.

“Speaking of being quick on the draw” I said, “I remember a scene from an old Francois Truffaut film. A woman says to a man, ‘some people are polite, and some are quick. Each one’s a good quality to have, but most of the time quickness trumps politeness. Have you ever seen that film?”

“No, I don’t think so.” Tokai said.

“The woman gave an example. A man opens a door to find a woman inside naked, changing her clothes. The polite person says, ‘Excuse me madam,’ and swiftly shuts the door. The one who says, ‘Excuse me, monsieur’ and shuts the door, now that’s somebody who’s quick.”

19 thoughts on “Polite And Quick.”

  1. I was once asked at a job interview in 1970 the following question to see how I handled it: “You go to you best friends house and knock on the door. The door opens and his sister is standing there naked. What would you do?” My response was ” I would take the little girl in my arms and ask her where her brother is”.

  2. That situation actually happened to a colleague of mine who was providing speech-language-cognitive therapy to a woman at home recovering from a stroke. She had some judgment, short-term memory deficits among other issues. The therapist knocked on her door one day for their scheduled session. She opened the door, standing there nude as a jay bird as a saying here goes — completely oblivious to the fact she was unclothed or behaving inappropriately. The therapist said, “Oh, (whatever her name was), I see you forgot to put your clothes on today.” She glanced down at her body, replied nonplussed “Oh dear!” She invited him in to wait while she dressed so they could begin their therapy session which is exactly what occurred.
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  3. I love the story! I intended to find out something about Murakami and now I know a bit. Time to read something by him.

  4. Quickness is definitely one of my failings, I have never been able to think of the right response at the time.
    Good post Ramana, thank you.
    Regards, Keith.

  5. Good stories. I’m not quick on the draw, but I enjoyed the quick responses. I’ve always felt the world belonged to the people who could respond with a ‘wise-crack’, and elicit a laugh instead of confusion.

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