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
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 ???
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 !!!
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
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