Monday, March 16, 2009

Mannerless

A recent post at Kris' caused me to turn my mind to a few different related events.

Kris, you see, recently (very recently) had hip replacement surgery and apparently discovered some of the lower forms of low life while out at restaurant this past weekend.

Oh the stories I could tell ... whatever has happened to good manners?

From the time when my kids were very, very little and I was trying to navigate a stroller through a door at the mall while holding the hand of the Blue Jay and had the door slammed shut in my face to the time when I was seven months pregnant (and definitely looked it) and no one would willingly give up their seat for a three-hour bus ride. Fortunately for me, the bus driver (God bless him) refused to leave until I had a place to sit. That eventually worked.

Are we so caught up in our own lives that we can't see past the nose on our collective face? Do we really have that much of a sense of entitlement that the attitude, recognized or not, is screw the other person; it's their problem, not mine?

I wonder what it would be like to navigate our world on a daily basis as a person with a physical disability? Would I even want to know?

But the best incident, I think, (at least it was amusing) happened a few years ago on my way to work. I was walking behind a guy (roughly my age) as we reached the door to the office building where I worked. Which door he promptly let shut in my face. Needless to say I was not impressed. Fuming inside, in fact, but I didn't say a word and simply followed him to the elevator. Where we waited.

And as we stood there, not speaking, he suddenly turned to me and mused (more or less in a philosophical tone), "I never know whether to hold the door open for a woman anymore or not. Sometimes they get mad at you." I looked over at him and casually replied "Well, I always thought it was just good manners to hold the door open for whoever is coming behind you, whether it's a man or a woman".

Just then the elevator doors opened and I stepped inside. "Oh!", came what sounded like a genuinely surprised response. "I never thought of it that way before."

Indeed. Like I couldn't tell.

Now I am far from a Miss Manners type of gal but I must lament ...

"Whatever has happened to good manners?"

4 comments:

Kris, in New England said...

Like a friend of mine said today - we need to get back to basics.

Common courtesy. Holding the door for someone behind you - regardless of the sex - is just plain common courtesy.

Holding the door for someone using 2 crutches and trying to navigate her way thru a sea of people - beyond common courtesy. I think it should be part of the DNA structure.

But that's just me - the girl on the crutches who had a door closed on her this past weekend. What do I know...

This - I was tired on Saturday and not up to my usual feisty self. That won't happen again - and it won't go well for anyone on the receiving end.

tam said...

on the opposite side of the spectrum - little monkey man was holding the door for me (he's such a polite kid!) at the mall the other day - I walked through, thanked him, and proceeded to keep talking...well, imagine my surprise when I turned around and there he was, still holding the door - there was a little old lady slowly walking along and he waited for her. God, I love that kid!

My point is, if we'd all take a little time to teach our kids the basics, you know, please, thank you, mind your manners, respect elders, the whole world would be a better place. But then we'd have to practice what we preach. Fortunately, in my household, we all do!

love ya MMC!

tam

Balancing Act said...

Michelle,
if you find out where the heck all the good sense, common sense and common courtesy went please let me know. I agree our children pick up the manners that we teach them. Walker will run to the door to open for me and hold it for others as well. The problem or disconnect seems to be when parents don't even know enough themselves to teach their chidren. We recently went to the playgound with our kids and let me tell you... when you watch the lack of interaction of the parents with their kids it becomes abundantly clear that they are not teaching these lessons to their own children. I have no problem telling another child - even not my own that we all have to take turns. It's pretty sad when the concept is beyond even some parents. Thanks for the post Michelle. Sad as it seems common courtesy is becoming a lost art... but not in my house it won't!

doorkeeper said...

I am always amazed when I go to the city, how mannerless people seem to be. Then, I return to my own little rural corner of the world, and see a mannerless jerk here, too...in a small community, you get called on it more often, I think, we tend to know most of our neighbors, etc., and I think when it's not someone you're never going to see again, but someone you'll have to deal with at school or church or in the grocery store...then it's a bit different. But manners are definitely dying. And I lament it all the time. DRIVING is a really big problem for me...watching idiots who think they own the road. Also, conversation. I had an interesting discussion once with a professional acquaintance--who constantly interrupted everyone around her, talked over other's words, and laughed it off as "where she came from" both her family (large and voluble--sp?) and her community--it was the accepted thing to interrupt. Expected, even, as you'd never get a word in edgewise. I was raised differently, to respect the one speaking, to listen, and form a reasoned response--but perhaps it's just the difference in cultures. I don't know. But I know that I see it get worse and worse, and I think it's because our media is mostly run by "city folks" who tend to be less friendly and courteous just because of how they're forced to live. OTOH--perhaps that's my prejudice!
d