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Rude New World

Is it just me, or does it seem like people have gotten really rude in the last few years?  Have civility and manners become outmoded fashion?  Does expecting people to behave themselves with at least a modicum of respect for others make me a relic?  Ok, I know that there have always been badly behaved people.  But seriously. Lately it seems to be epidemic. I’m not talking about Emily Post and which utensil one uses with the aspic.  I don’t really care about that.  I know it might drive some people up the proverbial wall, but if someone uses the inside fork for the first course, it doesn’t cause the fabric of my cosmos to tear.  However, people running off at the mouth when they ought to use their brain first, does bug me.  



I’ve been noticing this less than attractive trend for a while now.  It happens everywhere.  When did people decide that their loud cell phone conversations everywhere from a restaurant to a coffee house to sometimes even outside in close proximity were at all interesting to anyone else?  When did people decide that sitting in a legitimate theatre or a movie theatre and talking like it was their living room is acceptable? Are people shopping at the local supermarket so myopic that they can’t see that their conversation with their neighbor while blocking the access to one or more aisles is incredibly annoying?  Do the parents of overly active and under-restrained children honestly think that everyone finds their little darling jumping up and down on seats or screaming in the store endearing?  If I hear “now, now” one more time… I may throw my own tantrum.   



This last week the trend was highlighted publicly and embarrassingly by the actions of both Serena Williams and Congressman Joe Wilson.  Now, I of course, don’t personally know either of these people.  And let me say right here right now:  I’m not discussing politics.  Politics are not the point. Neither is race. What I know about Ms. Williams is that she is a phenomenally gifted athlete.  What I know about Mr. Wilson is that he is need of a serious hair stylist.  That’s pretty much it. What I saw through the magical medium of television, since I was not privileged to attend either the U.S. Open or the joint session of Congress, was, however, appalling.  What was even worse was the lukewarm “My emotions got the better of me” statement from both of them.  I’m not saying that their apologies were not sincere, because I have no way to know that.  I can say what it looked like was two people just going through the motion of an apology.  



 I suppose I ought to be grateful that much was said, since most of the time people respond to being even gently confronted about their rudeness with a mixture of: 1) disbelief that anyone could find their behavior objectionable, 2) anger that anyone would dare to even mention it and 3) a defensive posture that would serve them well in the WWF.  I’m all for assertiveness and standing up for oneself, but acting like an arse just because one has a constitutionally guaranteed right to isn’t the most attractive option that can be taken.  



 I’d like to think that manners still count.  That manners are still taught. That manners are still a concept.  That civil behavior is not just something from an old movie.  I could just be harboring this naïve hope in the face of the Rude New World.  I hope not.

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Hear, hear! And amen to that...I happen to agree with you. All of these actions are extremely annoying and rude, and most who often act rude have an in-your-face attitude and expect others to just deal with it.

I expected my kids to say "Please", "thank you", and "I'm sorry" and the other minimal social amenities, but any more it seems to be the exception, not the rule. Even saying to another, "Excuse me" seems to get the reaction that the other begging pardon even if not the culprit should be apologizing.

Quick cell phone story--my husband and I were eating at a fast food restaurant. We were seated next to the window. My man with a cell phone got up from his seat near the middle of the room to make/take a call. He moved over to where we were sitting and was practically on top of us. I imagine he walked there for better reception. When he started talking, saying, "Hi! How are you?", my husband answered him with "Hi, and we're fine." The man quickly got the message and moved away from us.

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Thanks, Nancy!  Love the

Thanks, Nancy! 

Love the cell phone story.  That kind of stuff happens every day it seems.  I guess my mother just raised me right, because she'd slap me upside the head from the Great Beyond if I behaved like that.

Glad you enjoyed it.


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Lisa, Mine would, too! In

Mine would, too! In fact, my mom had no problem with telling my sisters and me if we were rude, and how best to not repeat the behavior. Because of that, we rarely were.