When I was young and naive I was taught
when say 'please' and 'thank you', and how
to not get in the way, quietly. And I obeyed.
I learnt to not ask questions that nobody
wanted to answer, of which there were lots.
I am glad I learnt my manners.
In adulthood they help me hold the attention of other adults,
and I learned how be rude with sophistication.
But the older I got the more my naivety wore thin,
through more questions being allowed,
and even more-answered. But only with lies,
and the bigger the lie the more the truth mattered.
I was rhetoricaIly accused of 'being stupid',
by those those closest to me who previously bade me speak
only when spoken to. Since a dignified retreat
from the bad manners and paradoxes of my accusers
was impossible I went from a child-like naivety to sullen inattention,
with no intervening period. In a culture of lies
(what other culture is there?) detachment is valid defense.