I can't speak for the whole world because I have never been out of these United States. But from my observations in this country, in the North, in the West, in the East and yes, sadly also in the South; it's my opinion that this world is going to hell in a boat and rudeness and apathy are the oars.

I grew up in a rural setting, a small community just outside of Birmingham. It was an area where the newest family in the area moved in 9 years ago. And, were still referred to in conversation as "the new folks down the road". Three generations of a family living in the area were not uncommon ... it was usually the norm. There were a couple of Baptist churches, a Methodist congregation, as well as other denominations. Everyone ... EVERYONE knew everyone else and as much as I hate to admit it.. Hillary was correct, the village raised the children. Lillie's Lane was where I grew up ( named after Miss Lillie Lantrip) and it was approx. 1/2 mile long. There were 47 kids on that lane all within 2 years of my age. You treated everyone's mother like your mother and any mother had rule over whatever kids were in her yard or house. You were obliged to obey whatever rules whichever mother made for her house and yard. And it was never in doubt that if you didn't, your biological mother would know about it before dark. It tended to keep you in line.

Your mom taught you the proper way to act both at home and away from home. Replies ending in "Sir" and "Ma'am" were the only one that were acceptable, and a "please" and " thank you " was expected. The utterance of "Huh?" or "What" as a response was considered at the very least crude and usually warranted a stern correction sometimes with a physical emphasis, depending on the mood of the parent or attending adult who initiated the call for your attention. So many times today, in public places I hear children (18 yrs and younger) defying their parents instructions, speaking to them with disrespect and even anger in their voices. If a momentary mental lapse had caused me to do something like that.... well the results wouldn't have been pretty ... but maybe the cast would have been removed by now. It was understood that you did not embarrass your parents in public.

Fathers taught sons that ladies were always treated with respect and courtesy. Doors were held open for them and packages carried for them. Even ladies that were of a lesser economic position (poor folks) were treated with the same courtesies. All adults were treated with respect. We children were in training.. we were apprentice humans, learning the proper ways to become an adult. Sometimes by instruction, but I believe mostly by example.. It certainly has changed.

You were taught to be polite... if you entered a door and someone not in your group was following closely, it was customary to hold the door for them also. How many times today have you had a door closed in your face by the person entering one step ahead of you ?

Am I alone ? ... or has all memory of manners, politeness and consideration of others been erased from the minds of anyone less than 40 years of age ??? There is a word that describes what used to be the norm... in the South, at least. The word is "genteel" - Webster's defines it as "refined in manner, well-bred and polite. Free from vulgarity and rudeness." Our genteelness is fading like paint on an old barn and we are showing our roughness boldly.

We have raised a generation of young people who are now adults with children who have no manners, no consideration for others and really no idea that there is any other way to be. I don't know exactly when it started, maybe when so many mothers started working outside the home. Many of these traits are learned by example, and time spent with parents is in short supply these days. There is no time to train them, there is barely time to feed them, hit a lick at some homework and get them in bed. Of course there IS time for baseball practice, dancing, cheerleading, football, basketball, karate lessons, tennis, soccer, chess camp, gymnastics, flag team or band practice and selling coupon books to raise money for our schools. Kids today spend much more time with other untutored kids than they do their parents.

And it's not just the children... I see more and more examples of adults who's manners and civility are slowly fading away. We have moved into a culture where "I" and "Mine" are the supreme words and consideration for others will surely be seen as a sign of weakness of mind. It's a shame. It makes life tiring.

I have to shake my head in wonder sometimes. For some inexplicable reason, these unmannered folks seem to think that their lives, duties, missions are infinitely more important than mine, that my time is insignificant and my inconvenience is nothing about which they should worry.

I don't see this as ethnic or regional thing. It crosses all racial, ethnic and religious lines and boorish behavior has slowly become the acceptable... even 'campy' way to act. In the past, in the South... it was considered an insult to be called a "Redneck" or "White Trash". Now you see six inch high letters plastered across windshields proclaiming a pride in achieving that status. The original definition of 'redneck' was a person who spent their days working long hours in the sun until their necks were blistered and sore. Hard working farmers and laborers who took pride in what they did and did well, but were labeled that way by affluent snobbish hypocrites. Today, the term more correctly defines a person who would rather draw a check for a bogus disability which they spend on beer and Skoal and make no contribution to this world while taking all they can from whoever will give it. It's complimented by the disregard for personal appearance, the lack of work ethic in general and the inflated importance of self-satisfaction.

I've made a list of some of the things I see we have gained as our reward for this lack of parental training. My list of pet peeves and my suggestions for fixes follow by category

Grocery/Discount Store Shopping

Cashiers who never acknowledge you in a checkout line.. who can barely mumble the amount you owe. Others who carry on a running conversation with the next cashier, while totally ignoring the customer and the items they are scanning. Do managers not see this as a sign that my business isn't important to them ?? SUGGESTION Treat me like a human being... say hello !! Pay attention to your job and my groceries.

People who, when shopping for groceries will push their carts down one side of the aisle and reach across the aisle to get an item while holding their cart with an outstretched arm...blocking the entire aisle. Or park their carts between two displays that have narrowed the aisle to 1.5 cart widths already.. then walk to the other end of the aisle for that can of tuna. SUGGESTION Consider the fact that someone other than you is in the store and would actually like to move through the aisles to shop.

People who wait till all of their items are scanned and bagged and ask to borrow a pen from the cashier while searching for their checkbooks and drivers license... " I know I have a bonus card here somewhere" SUGGESTION You know you're going to write a check for your groceries !!! duh !!! you can fill out everything but the amount BEFORE or WHILE you're in line.. and find your drivers license also.

People when meeting friends or neighbors block the aisles chatting and catching up on the last 5 years.. SUGGESTION This one is easy... MOVE OVER

And my favorite... those who get in line at the checkout and then leave their cart in line while they fetch something at the rear of the store that they bypassed while talking on the phone to their sister Shirley about her vericose vein surgery.. In these cases I make an effort to push their carts as far down the dog food aisle as possible and move ahead in the line. SUGGESTION People haven't played "save my place" since we were in line at the water fountain in fifth grade.

One more request of department store clerks, auto parts counter people, anyone in retail who deals with live and phone customers. The person (me) standing at the counter with money to spend clutched in his hand is more important than the person on the phone! Typically at an auto parts store, I stand there with a greasy, hot, heavy, sharp part in my hand while the smiling clerk plays 50 questions on the phone with some nitwit about the availability of a rear brake cylinder rebuild kit for a 1957 Humber Super Snipe. SUGGESTION If you were waiting on me before the phone rang, I don't mind if you stop to answer the phone and ask the caller to please hold... but don't put ME on hold for them.

Parking Lot Etiquette:

Anything from small foreign cars to mammoth SUVs that park in 'some' parking places. SUGGESTION they paint those lines for a reason... take the time to use them... only two... and be between them. My car is just as impressive to my bank as yours. If you need to protect your doors and such... park in 5 or 6 spaces... at the end of the lot. The exercise will be good for you also.

People who walk down the middle of the traffic lanes, mindlessly pushing their shopping carts from the Wal-Mart, oblivious to (or even defiant of) the traffic they are impeding. SUGGESTION Can't you walk to your car pushing your cart where others can drive by you ???

The same people who, going into the Wal-Mart, shuffle slowly across the traffic lanes holding up the cars while they mindlessly talk on their cell phones or rummage through their purses. I once saw a mother who allowed her son to kneel down in the middle of the road to tie his shoe, while cars backed up waiting. I can imagine living a life with one ear, had I done this with my parents.
SUGGESTION People !!! haven't you looked around you to see how inattentive other drivers are ??? how much time do you want to spend in front of their moving car ??? Do you want to be in front of Shirley while she drives AND tells her sister in Wal-Mart about her Vericose Vein surgery ???

Mall Etiquette

Groups of adults or a mixed group of adults and children who insist on walking 4,5 or 6 wide through a crowded mall causing everyone they meet to walk around them. Or, they stroll along at a snails pace and hold up everyone behind them walking at a normal gait. SUGGESTION Split up you dummies !!! We're in here also !!!

Those folks who, while moving in the mass of people in the mall.. stop suddenly to answer the phone or check your list or shift your load...piling up the multitude behind you... SUGGESTION Move to the side of the mall before you stop... I don't need to wait for you to answer Shirley's call.

And their cousins who just stand in the middle of the flow of shoppers trying to decide where they are ?? where they are going ?? or what they are going to eat for lunch ??? SUGGESTION same as above MOVE !!!

General Politeness

It bothers me to see husbands or significant others walk ahead of their wives or S.O.s like they are superior to them. Walking through doors and just swinging them open behind them for their wives... SUGGESTION You're just ignorant... see above... what your daddy should have taught you about women.

The only time a man should go ahead of a woman is on an 'down' escalator (in case she might fall forward) or through a revolving door to push it. Or to prevent something from hurting her (Like Indiana Jones goes into the cave BEFORE the heroine). And ladies... holding the door for you is not an assault on your power as a woman or on your femininity. You are just as strong and powerful walking through the door as you are holding it. It's simply a matter of being courteous. I do the same for a man... it's polite.

When approaching another person from an angle and your paths will cross, rudely walking in front of them where their gait is interrupted. Another example of poor raising.. SUGGESTION At least, make eye contact to make sure the other person sees you and if you do 'cut them off shortly' say "excuse me". Even if you don't mean it... say it !! I see a lot of younger people doing this and while you can dismiss it partially to youth and living in their own world... it's still rude.

Sitting in a restaurant, or in the mall, or walking down the street and you hear diddle-deet... and a loud tinny fingernails-on-the-blackboard voice... These cell phones with 2-way radio all have mute options so the radio can be used like a phone and we all don't have to hear that Bob the Builder won't be at your site today.


First.... hang up the phone and pay attention to your driving.

Second.... show a little common sense and courtesy. We're all driving 2000 pound (at least) vehicles much too fast, and with a little of the above we can all arrive alive.. We're all in a hurry... and your mission is no more important to you... than mine is to me... unless you're a paramedic coming to an accident some fool with a cell phone caused and I'm in it and need medical attention, then you get the advantage.

Which brings up emergency vehicles... they have the right of way...regardless... no exception... MOVE or if you're stopped and the area around you is clear SIT STILL !!

I like my music and you like yours. I might not like Snoop Doggy Dog. TURN IT DOWN!

Why is it some people have to come up behind me... pass me... cut back in front of me and then make a right turn in 75 feet ??? SUGGESTION Do you really know that I'm paying attention to my driving enough to not ram you in the rear end ??? And, what are you going to do with the 10 seconds you saved by passing me ??

I'll make one exception to my request for courteous driving ... If you see signs ahead that say your lane will be closed in 1/2 mile... merge into the other lane then... If you wait till the last 500 feet and zoom down around the line of drivers who have already moved over... flip on your blinker and expect to merge in ahead of me... don't ! I will not let you merge... I'll run you right into the barrels or the weeds. I have good insurance and you'll have to push me out of your durn fool way..... You saw the signs at the same place I did... do right !!!

If you jack up your 4x4 to be able to run the Paris to Dakar rally, re-aim the head lights.

Loud pipes on anything do not save lives. They just piss off the civilians and give all car/bike/boat freaks a bad name.

Just because you drive an 18 wheeler for a living, you do not have the sole use of the highway. You also are not exempt from speed limits. Most of my drive time is to & from work so, in a sense I drive for economic gain too. The conspiracy between law enforcement and the trucking lobby needs to be exposed.

The Lord gave us all we need to get along amicably with the rest of the world when he said treat others like you want to be treated. The choices we make tell others what kind of person we are. If the choice is difficult just think..... what would your Momma tell you to do.