Sightseeing on Earth - Etiquette for Extra-terrestrials (extract)
When choosing to impersonate a human
a middle-aged appearance may be best.
This age group will more likely be excused
incriminating faults in modes of dress.
To blend without arousing deep suspicions
it's crucial to adopt a proper mien.
You must observe the Earthlings' odd traditions
regarding how, when, where and whom to greet.
For instance, if you walk on scenic trails
the custom is to murmur something bland
like ‘hi', ‘hello', good morning' or ‘g'day'
adjusted to the language of the land.
Eye contact span of time and width of smile
depend upon the frequency of junctures.
For form's sake, if there's roughly one per mile
two seconds with a grin would fit most cultures.
To match increasing frequency of meetings
the warmth of salutations should decrease.
At more than one per minute, smiles are fleeting
until at three per minute, greetings cease.
This guide is not applicable to cities
where humans always avoid each other's eyes.
Take care, some Aliens have been committed
from over-zealous contact we surmise.
Exceptions to these rules must be expected;
take cues and always aim to be discreet.
Next chapter has advice for when you're peckish
regarding how, when, where and whom to eat.
Diane Hine's Other Poems
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