Not So Common Courtesy
I thought twice about writing this post (maybe even three or four times) because I didn’t want to seem all self-righteous and “I’m so awesome” because I’m not….but rudeness seems to be following me like my back pocket these days, and I simply couldn’t fight the urge any longer. I just don’t get it. I am F…A…R. from perfect and have enough flaws and faults that we could make it a full fledged category here on GMG (don’t get any ideas, Joey). Just ask my husband. Likewise, my boys have plenty of skills that could be worked on. Lately, though, I have been more than the average dose of disheartened by the interactions that I’ve had “out there.” The thing that started to push me over the edge is something that has chronically happened to me for years….making me wonder if, indeed, I am actually at fault.
Scenario #1: Aisle of any given store. Me: Heading one way. Another shopper: Headed towards me. Me: “Sorry. Excuse me” while we jockey for space to get by each other. Other shopper: Nothing. Nothing! Crickets! As if I was actually at fault! Why am I always the one saying, “excuse me“?? Aren’t we both equally responsible for sharing the aisle? Maybe I open myself up for being at fault by saying “sorry“….because that is probably a bit much? Maybe I should just stick with “excuse me.” Well, I’ve done that too. Still….crickets! How is it that I never hear, “no worries“or “excuse me too“? Sometimes, the lack of response even comes with a quick glance that almost implies, “You’re darn right you should excuse yourself! This aisle is all mine!” Which I get, I don’t shop a lot. I’m not a “regular” anywhere when it comes to shopping. Well…my Amazon account and J Crew card would disagree, but they don’t have aisles. Oh, and when I’m talking about said aisles, I’m not talking like Vineyard Vines… where I would expect to be looked upon with a bit of pity or quickly dismissed because my grosgrain ribbon belt doesn’t match the whale on my cardigan and headband. (Before you write in…I’m kidding….I don’t really think it is ok to treat customers or fellow shoppers like that even in establishments like VV…and, for the record, my belt, cardigan, and headband always match…kidding, again). I, to get back to my original point, am talking about places like Market Basket, Staples, Michael’s Craft Store, and Sports Authority. Do these people really think they have more right to these aisles than I do?
Scenario #2: Door Holding. And lack there of. I ALWAYS hold doors. Sometimes too much so. By that I mean that sometimes the necessity to hold doors is actually questionable. Like, sometimes the next person is a good clip away and I think, for a second, “Do I really need to stand here and hold this door for them or should I let it go?” Often though, in that space of a thought, I’ve inadvertently made eye-contact with the next person, and then feel obligated to stand there for a slightly awkward period of time. Efff. Insert Chariots of Fire slow motion music….and awkward wait period. However! What is up with all of the times that I hold doors for people and they DON’T say, “Thank you?” Seriously!! What in the world is wrong with people! Does this happen to anyone else or just me!? Blasted common courtesy, people! I know that I didn’t hand you $1.000, but come on! Likewise, I don’t do it for the “thank you” but when the other person acts like it is my purpose in life to stand and hold a door for them, I get pissed. I won’t even bother getting into the lack of door holding and my secret ill-wishing towards those who let doors slam in the faces of my young children.
Scenario #3: Driving Etiquette. Turning into parking lots. This indeed may be pushing it, because if you were to read the actual laws-of-the-road, these people are in the “right”, but I don’t think so. I can’t tell you how many times I have been waiting, with my directional on, to turn into a parking lot across a lane of on-coming traffic only to finally see an oncoming car put their directional on to turn into the same parking lot and have thought “oh, good, they’ll let me go“(because now I’m starting to feel bad for the back-up of cars behind me) …..only to have them sneak in in front of me. I know they probably really have the right of way….but, doesn’t common courtesy dictate, “hey, that person has been trying to turn in there for quite a bit now, and even though they’re in the opposite lane, they were here first, so maybe I’ll let them go???” I accidentally did that to someone at Dunkin Donuts once and then bought their coffee in the drive-thru because I felt so bad. And, for the record, if someone actually did let me go…I’d wave an appreciative “thank you.” Just sayin’.
So, why rant now? What brings this all to a head, you may ask? A trip to the zoo, I would answer. I love kids. I love my kids, I love my students, I love my friends’ kids. What I don’t love is kids that run freakin’ wild in public while their parents ignore them like crazy….so much so that they ruin other people’s fun. Yesterday, there was a group of kids barreling between exhibits while shouting and hollering at the zoo. I realize that I expect too much from my own children when it comes to manners in public…I absolutely border on the “strict” side….and I might even go so far as to say that sometimes I hamper their fun because I expect them to let other children have a turn too quickly or I make them wait longer because someone else’s child has cut them in line and I’d rather they take the high road. I’m working on getting better at that. That having been said, I have a super low tolerance for other parents who let their children act rudely in public. This same group of children kept jumping in front of other children and one of them ran right into a lovely grandmother who was trying to show her grandchildren the jaguar. No one told him to apologize…and it was kind of a rough hit. Another snatched a view finder right out of a little girl’s hands. No one told him to wait his turn. Later, I watched a boy finish a snack and drop the wrapper on the ground. WHAT!!?? Then, on the playground, this entitled little 5 year-old or so, snapped at Finn….who was soooo in line before her for a turn on the little zip line thing, and actually put her hand up in his face and said “I’m next“. She then complained that “that kid (meaning my other son) left the bar 1/2 way across and I can’t reach it now” to me and added, “Can you get it?”. To which I said, “Come on Finn. We’ll come back when she’s done trying to have her turn” and walked away. Where were little bossy pant’s parents….no idea? Ironically, just 10 minutes later, when my boys wanted to ride the little train, we found bossy pants sitting mid-train crying like crazy because “she wanted to sit up front in the engine and it isn’t ffffaaaaiiiirrrr.” Still not sure which parents in the crowd were hers. But, I am sure that no one was telling her to “enjoy the seat she had or feel free to get off, but either way stop screaming” like I would have done. My boys chose to wait until the next ride. A much quieter one. And sat in the engine.
And then lunch. I’ll make it quick. Picture if you will, two clearly marked cans. A blue one that says, “Bottles and Cans Only” in large letters across the top…with a recycling symbol on it and a brown one with no words. Wouldn’t you know that just as my 4-year old was done recycling his water bottle a lady came and dumped all of her trash…ketchup covered french fries, napkins, remnants of hamburgers, chicken fingers, drink cups, you name it….right into the recycling can. Dumbass. Ummmm….and allow me add…it was Earth Day.
I’d like to finish by saying that I am well aware there is an ocean of lovely, well-mannered people out there…including all of you, but for some reason, the way my stars have aligned, I seem to be missing them.