Etiquette among the humans

Humans are, in most respect, very much like us. You will probably find in your time among the humans that you have more commonalities than differences, and most humans are friendly and accomodating. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind to avoid any misunderstandings or embarassment.

Humans, by and large, have a muted sense of smell, although they can keenly smell rot or decay and find the smell offensive, even nauseating. However, they can often miss out on obvious things, such as who was last in a room. They can sometimes find a more keen sense of smell a bit unsettling.

Humans can still keenly smell what they eat, however, and this is an important part of human culture. Humans enjoy an immense array of different foods, enjoying variety, and holding in great esteem those who can produce particular flavours with expertise. Humans tend to eat at ritualized, regular meals when possible, which become the major social event of the day, although the details of how these occur vary greatly among human cultures. Given the opportunity, many humans will seek out rare foods even when perfectly nutritious foods are much cheaper. So extreme is their desire for novelty that many humans enjoy eating a certain fruit that creates a terrible burning sensation when eaten.

Humans prefer to be awake during the day, despite being just as susceptible to predators as we are. In fact, many humans, especially in their youth, are more afraid of darkness than of the light! Human sight is much better during the day than in dim light, and they cannot see temperature at all. In fact, because humans see colour differently, you might find human art and fashion both muted and jarring in their choice of colour.

The majority of humans communicate primarily using sound alone. Complex gestural languages do exist among humans, and humans are quite capable of learning such languages, but many humans know only the most rudimentary of gestural words, such as those denoting "yes" and "no", sometimes using motion for emphasis.

In fact, humans often love highly complex patterns of sound. These sounds fascinate humans so much that they can be used to subtly manipulate them in large groups, generating feelings of joy, sadness, unity, reverence and such. While this might sound alarming, it is socially acceptable in many circumstances to manipulate other humans in this way, and in fact those who are able to do so most effectively are well respected. Between this and the heavy emphasis on sound as a means of communication, you might find human gatherings to be unpleasantly loud.

Humans often enjoy wide open spaces, especially where it is possible to see a long distance, and proximity to water. Humans are often uncomfortable in very small spaces or at great heights, such as in trees, unless there is a very definite and solid floor below. Relatedly, humans are not very good at landing from even a small height of ten feet or so, which you should keep in mind for reasons of safety as well as politeness. They can swim reasonably well, but only with practice. Humans also tend to be uncomfortable around large spiders, and sometimes certain reptiles, but enjoy the company of certain other predators, so do not be alarmed if you are attending a human meal and some sort of wolf is staring at you with hungry eyes from under the table, hoping for a snack!

When you meet with humans, pay close attention to how far they stand from each other and attempt to copy that. For humans, physical contact or even proximity denotes a degree of intimacy, and if you were to stand immediately next to one, even on a cold day, they will be quite alarmed. Similarly, if they choose to stand at a distance, do not take offense. Confusingly, the appropriate degree of proximity differs by culture. In some cultures, brief, ritual physical contact denotes friendship, trust, or a promise of honesty, but because these differ between cultures, it is more likely that it will occur to them to explain it to you.

Written Dec. 12 2020