Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What happened to manners?

I left to go overseas and the world changed while I was gone.

I am not an outgoing person. I've always been shy and meeting people is most difficult for me. Speaking in public is equal to standing before a firing squad. Honestly, I felt more comfortable crawling under barbed wire with bullets flying over me than I do standing in front of a crowd.

Even with that dread of people, it has always been my feeling that I should be polite to these monsters. You know a please here, a thank you there, excuse me sir or ma'am. Open a door here and there, say 'May I help you.' if I was behind the desk. Just common words that make people feel comfortable.

Those things still happen here and there but they do not ring as true as they once did. For example "May I help you." is now said as a challenge when you have lingered too long in one place. "Excuse me" has a mean tone as if to say "Are you nuts or something?"

I'm not mister congeniality and I admit this 'knock-down, drag-out' world can make one mean at times but it seems that, in general, manners have gone out the window.

The boys at the grocery store even got it all figured out. If you got two small bags of cereal, they will 'may I help you' (mostly it's a grunt that is interpreted as 'you need help' -even a caveman can do it) but if you got ten bags with milk, juice and a poke of 'taters, they find something else to do in the back. Checker-outers have even gotten to the point of waiting for the customer to say thank-you so they can say 'your welcome'.

Being elderly nowadays means you are last in line and must plan a defensive game plan before going into a store. As in finding safe havens between stacks of soft drinks or diverting into the ladies underwear section to avoid getting run over or pushed aside. I always watch out for that bulldog snare beyond a buggy that says, 'I'm bad and I got the pounds to prove it.'

Well, it's a mean world. I'd say they can't help it but they could. Maybe they were not taught but they could learn if they wanted to be polite. Polite is just not popular. I thought it was a joke when I heard it at first but apparently people have taken the phrase 'nice guys finish last' as a replacement for the golden rule which, by the way, is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Thank You!

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