It happened when Uncle Ron, my mother’s distant relative, come to our town on some business and stayed with us. It was difficult to say how old he was. He was not young, but he was not old either. His face was wrinkled, but he was sporty, upright and energetic. There was something about him which made me think of Arthur the King and his knights.
He was pretty busy all the time and we did not see much of him. He had lots of business meetings somewhere in the city and usually came home quite late. That’s why I was surprised when I saw him in our sitting room early in the afternoon. It was not one of my best days, and I did not feel like entertaining guests. Uncle Ron sensed that and did not ask any questions. Instead, he suggested having lunch together. Over the desert I told him everything. I was facing a bunch of problems. First of all, the neigbours complained to my parents that I had been rude to them. I did not mean to be rude at all. They just took it all wrong. Then I quarreled with my classmate, who said I was a bully. But the worst was my elder sister. She was only a year and a half older then me, but never missed a chance to demonstrate that she did not think much of me. When she was with her friends, she did not let me take part in their conversations, saying that I was too rude and ill-bread to join the select. She never allowed me to borrow her books or discs, and said that I would not understand that stuff anyway. To me it was discrimination, would not it be to you?
Uncle Ron was a nice person to talk with. He listened, he did not interrupt, and he did not criticize. He was all concern and respect.
“Well, I am sure that she loves you”, he said at last. “But you don’t listen to each other. Let’s try to get her to listen to you”.
“But she won’t! She never does! Just today I wanted to take her digital audio player… I wanted to borrow it, for a while… And she called me a thief, and shouted at me!”
“Try again, but ask her permission first”, and Uncle Ron wrote down a few lines on a page from his pad. “Learn this”, he handed me the paper. “Learn this by heart”.
When I entered Julia’s room, she was listening to music and had her headphones on. Her look did not promise a warm welcome. “I wonder if I could ask you for a favour”, I said quietly. “Could I borrow your player for a while, if you are not going to use it tonight? “ Julia stared at me in astonishment, evidently trying hard to comprehend the meaning of my words. “Yes”, she muttered at last in a low voice. “You can certainly take it. Here you are”.
It worked! I tried the magic phrase several times, and it always worked! Then I asked Uncle Ron to write down a couple of other useful phrases for me, and little by little I got into the habit of using polite language. It really makes life easier!
I Choose the correct variant.
1 Uncle Ron
A)came to visit the family because he missed them.
B) came on some business and stayed with the family.
C) came on business and stayed at a hotel.
2 Uncle Ron
A)spent much time with a family. B) always had meals with the family. C) spent most of his time in the city.
3 The narrator was upset because
A)he had low grades at school. B)Uncle Ron annoyed him. C)he had quarreled with his sister again.
4 Uncle Ron thought that the sister did not listen to her brother because
A)she did not love him. B)he used rude language. C)she was very busy and had no time for him.
5 When the narrator used Uncle Ron’s “magic language”, his sister felt
Very much surprised. B)irritated C) guilty.
6 The narrator found out that polite language
Helps solve problems. B) is useless in modern life. C) is never used by teenagers
II Ask 5 questions to the text.