Friday, March 26, 2010

Hello, I'm Rude

Rudeness seems to be an epidemic in modern society. Sometimes I just shrug it off. Other times it annoys me.

I find there are degrees of rudeness. For example, today I stopped for a few seconds to hold the door for a man who was walking out of a store behind me. He saw I held the door, walked right past me, and said nothing. Not a "thank you" nothing. Just walked past as if he expected no less than for people to hold doors for him. Ass.

Then there was the old woman I saw who dropped a few things on the floor of the store. Two able-bodied young men actually walked over her items and continued on. I, well trained by my parents, stopped to help. She thanked me nicely and we moved on.

Is it a matter of training? Of generations? My parents instilled in me manners and courtesy. I still send thank-you notes when people do me favors, give me presents, or invite me to dinner. I say "please" and 'thank you." I notice the people around me and take the time to the right thing. And yet other people are totally oblivious. They talk on their cell phone and completely disregard the poor clerk ringing up their order or the hard-working waitress who brings their food. Not even a nod to acknowledge that another human is providing them with a service.

Today at the shelter a woman was on her cell phone and talking so loudly that I could hear her conversation from the next room. I know all about her relationship with her boyfriend. The shopping expedition she had with her sister-in-law. The fact that her boss has taken up golf and wants her to cover for him when he takes off early in the afternoon. While talking loudly is more inconsiderate than rude, it's still an indication that this woman, for some reason, thinks her life and her desires are more important that anyone else's. She actually asked me a question while still on her cell phone and then interrupted me while I was answering to talk to the person on the other end of the call. How nice? Carrying on two conversations at once. Don't I feel special?

I have no children. Never had a desire. I have the maternal instincts of a preying mantis. But if I were a parent I would definitely insist on teaching my kids manners. Teaching them right from wrong. How to behave in public and how to treat other people. Today child from hell was running around the store and ran right into me. No apologies, nothing. And mom saw this. Mom didn't apologize either. Here's Damian nearly knocking me over and there's no acknowledgement that he inconvenienced me. When I was a kid that would have been totally unacceptable behavior. And I would have known that.

Perhaps I should have said something to mom. But I didn't want to be rude.

1 comment:

FinnyKnits said...

Oh man, could I GO ON about this topic. But I won't. I will say that you and my husband (and probably your husband, knowing the kind soul that he is) are probably the few people left on earth who are consistently polite and well-mannered.

I, however, have given up. I mean, I stick to the manners inextricably pressed into my character by my dutiful parents, but there are some things I've let go.

Specifically - the hope that parents will mind their children.

For instance, yesterday, as Bubba and I were eating lunch at a local taqueria, I watched a girl sitting at a table with her mom, potentially her father, some other young adult man and approximately six other young kids making a HOLY RAUCOUS in this tiny restaurant.

They had taken over half the place for their brood and were proceeding to be loud and obnoxious despite the other people in the place trying to eat lunch. To say that she, the mom, wasn't minding her kids, was an understatement.

So, when one of her daughters started showing off to her sister that she could tip back in her chair all "HEHEHE LOOK AT ME" and I could see it was going to end in disaster, I just let it happen.

I watched as this girl, acting like a righteous ass, taunted her sister and, at the final moment, managed to flip her chair and throw her mom's plate into the air.

I just looked back at Bubba and my lunch like it didn't happen.

And I didn't feel any guilt, because I'm rude, I guess.