Dec 12, 2016

Older is better! Example #125.. Manners

Holy Moly, I could write a book on the subject of manners. Like many from my generation, I was taught about manners from a very young age. What I didn't learn from my parents I learned in etiquette classes at school. My how times have changed! I try not to be pessimistic, but it seems like manners, etiquette, and yes.. even common decency, all seem to be falling by the wayside amongst young and old alike.

I usually try to refrain from using my blog as a platform to vent, but there are things I've seen in the last few years that I just can't get out of my head. Maybe I can find solace by talking about them here. I know I can't be the only one that notices these disturbing trends. Here are just a few examples that prove to me, just how far our society has fallen manner-wise.

Holding a door open for someone
I don't expect anyone to hold a door open for me. People lead busy lives and have lots on their minds, so I can't hold it against anyone who doesn't do so for me.  I however, choose to make a conscience effort to do so whenever possible.   If I am already entering a building, I will gladly pause for a few seconds so someone won't have to open the door themselves. I also make a point to step aside and let women and senior citizens enter a building before myself.

I must give credit for my manners to my parents, particularly my old man. I remember Dad instructing me to open doors for mothers with children in tow, and for senior citizens back when I was only five years old. He never had to explain why I should do so, it was just something "I got".

When I see a senior citizen, my mind starts to wander. What kinds of heartache, joy, or trials and tribulations have they endured during their lifetime? Their lives are truly something to be admired, and they deserve our respect and honor. As for women, they should be regarded as precious, and need to be treasured for no other reason than because they are women.

That being said, let me share what happened to me twice in recent months while holding the door for someone. The first was at the post office one afternoon. I had four boxes in one arm and was opening the door with the other. As I readied to enter the building, I noticed two women getting ready to exit, so I stepped aside and held the door open for them. Both looked me straight in the eye, shot me a nasty glare, and walked by without saying a word.  As the second woman walked by, I heard something faintly hit the ground. It was a couple of envelopes and a book of stamps. I quickly said "Ma'am.. you dropped something." The woman turned around, first looked at me.. and then at the ground where I was pointing, as I held the door open with my elbow.

The woman let out a deep sigh similar to what I'd hear from my kids when I ask them to empty the dishwasher. She walked back into the building, quickly snatched the envelopes from the doorway, turned around, and walked off without uttering a single word to me. Let me clarify that I don't expect a "thank you" for holding a door open for someone, but I thought it was pretty rude in this particular case not to even acknowledge me.  For a second I thought maybe these ladies didn't speak English, until one called to the other and said "What was it?" the other replied non nonchalantly, "My credit card bills and stamps".

The second situation took place at a restaurant with my family of five. From the window, we could see there was already a line forming in front of the cash register. My son held the door open for us as we prepared to enter, when I noticed an elderly couple about twenty feet away slowly approaching. I instructed my kids to step aside and let them enter before us. As they walked past us, there was no acknowledgment to my son for holding the door open, and that was perfectly fine.. no harm done.

When we were ready to enter the building, the gentlemen err.. man stepped back into the doorway so we couldn't pass. He then motioned for the rest of his family to join him. His family was just getting out of their car, which was a good fifty feet away in the parking lot. What was really amusing, is that he didn't look at any of us the entire time he waited for his family. He just kept yelling.. "Hurry up.. Hurry up.. it's filling up in here!!"

I kept wondering.. "How does he think this door is staying open?" But the story gets better. As his family of eight casually walked up to the door, each and every one of them ignored us as well! They obviously saw us holding the door for them and dear old dad, and that we were waiting to enter the restaurant as well. I could do nothing else but shake my head, laugh, and think.. "Wow.. that's one big gene pool of rudeness."

I'm not going to lie. There's been many times that I've thought "That's the last time I hold a door open for anyone!" But who am I kidding.. I'm not going to let rude people change me for the worse. Imagine how the world would be if everyone took this attitude.

Respect for the Dead
I was driving home a couple of years ago on a little side road, when I noticed a funeral procession approaching. I was in the process of turning onto the road from a cross street, so I immediately pulled over, removed my hat, and waited for them to pass. Funeral processions always make me take pause, and focus on what a great gift life is.  What I saw next was something that made my stomach turn. I was parked in front of an International House of Pancakes, and noticed a two door Honda coupe readying to exit the parking lot. I assumed he was going to wait for the procession to pass as well, but apparently wherever he had to go was more important than waiting a minute or so for them to pass by.

This moron peels out of the parking lot at full speed, narrowly squeezing between the passenger side fender of the hearse, and the broadside of a car that was also parked and waiting for the funeral procession to pass. You could noticeably see the hearse hit its brakes and swerve to the left, resulting in the family's cars directly behind it having to brake hard as well. What's more.. it was one of those "customized" cars with a big spoiler, tacky paint job, glittered window tint, and obnoxious muffler that made the car sound like a sick bumble bee.

As the idiot sped off in front of the procession, I sat there horrified wondering how the family must have felt. Here they are on the way to a loved ones burial, the only one there will ever be for that person.. no chances for do overs. It's already a somber occasion, and the family didn't need any more sadness, or aggravation. This idiots actions may have very well traumatized this poor family, or at least made them feel very bitter for years to come.

On a side note, have you noticed how quick people are to joke about the recently deceased? It's no more than a matter of hours that a celebrity can pass away, and jokes start circulating about them. This just doesn't feel right to me, and never has.

What's happened to us? Look at pre 1970's movies, news reels, pictures from newspapers, and magazines, and you'll notice that most everyone used to dress much nicer. Now I'm not saying that men should go to baseball games in suits, and women should wear dresses in most social situations. In fact.. I'm all about being comfortable! I adore my flip flops, cargo shorts, bowling shirts, and blue jeans. However, don't go to a nice restaurant, graduation, wedding, or funeral, in Crocs, flannel, or camouflage prints. Unless of course the guests of honor (or deceased) expressly wanted it that way.  If that is the case, by all means knock yourself out!

I could go on and on about situations similar to the ones I've listed, but I think I'm going to wrap it up now. While I do believe there is a serious lack of manners, common decency, and compassion in society, there are also multitudes of good people who are class acts.  People like the man who told me I had dropped my cellphone, the woman who returned my lost wallet, and the little boy who held the door open for me at the mall, give me hope that all is not lost. I guess all I can do, is try and raise my kids to be compassionate and productive members of society, and they in turn will help to make the world a nicer place to live in.

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