They will be the first ones to complain when they are run over and killed, but the number of people who insist on crossing the road in the middle of traffic rather than availing themselves of a pedestrian crossing a couple of metres away is growing.

These harried souls are so time-poor they can't afford the extra seconds it would take to drag themselves to the crossing and traverse securely, accompanied by the soundtrack of idling motors and a buzzer.

They are, of course, protected by the magic of the Skippity Hop.

When they look up and make eye contact with you in your car, and you are obliged to slow down suddenly to avoid knocking them over, they invariably break into a little dance for the remainder of their journey.


"Goodness," they are miming, "a car in the road was the last thing I expected when I set off from the footpath just moments ago, but look, I'm getting a wriggle on, just for you. I'm absolutely going as fast as I can.

"You can't possibly be annoyed when I'm so adorable."

Thus they hope their cuteness will redeem their lack of consideration and the risk at which they are putting themselves and others.

This Skippity Hop is part of a trend to absolve oneself for all sorts of sins by being endearing.

The winsome "my bad" accompanied with a little shrug is used to deflect opprobrium for any number of behaviours, ranging from stepping on your foot to dropping the baby into an active volcano.

An email from your accountant acknowledging that he has inadvertently cost you several thousand dollars will be signed off with a cute winking emoji, so that any anger will instantly be diffused with hearty chuckles all round.

And what those "baby on board" tags in car rear windows are actually saying is: "I can drive like 17 kinds of inconsiderate knucklehead and you can't complain because I am a Sacred Parent."

Although these are relatively minor grouches, in their own small way they reflect an increasing tendency for people to behave as they will and expect others to put up with it.


So if you happen to fall into one of the above categories and find aspects of this column offensive, all I can say is: "Soz."

The number of parents who are distressed because their school fees requests included an amount for tissues - a candidate in the daily media for Outrage of the Week - may be small, but the story is all too plausible. The real scandal, however, is not that we have schools wanting kids to bring their own tissues. It is that our economy has created a group of people for whom the cost of a couple of boxes of tissues can be a budget-straining burden.

It might be timely to point out the existence of the items we used to know as handkerchiefs.

Cheap, reusable, long-lasting, super-absorbent, easy on the nostrils and available in any number of attractive patterns, handkerchiefs were once the schoolchild's go-to device for dealing with snot and blood.

They have vanished, perhaps thanks to an alliance between tissue manufacturers and germophobes. There seems to have arisen a belief that handkerchiefs, because of their non-disposable nature, foster the transmission of germs. But if you didn't share yours with the kid sitting next to you - I didn't, he could use his sleeve as far as I was concerned - the chances of this were next to none. Time to get out your hankies.