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Friday, April 27, 2012

Where did they go?

Manners, that is.

When I left the house yesterday, I was in a pretty good frame of mind. I'd driven less than 500 yards when I had to brake hard because a man and two children were strolling across the road in front of me. While I sat there muttering things like "Don't rush - take your time", he turned to look at me with a completely vacant expression.

I eventually drove on and tried to join the main road. I couldn't because northbound traffic on that was at a standstill and some moron had stopped right across the junction so that none of us could get out and join the free flowing southbound lane. The driver/moron was sitting there quite unconcerned about the queue building up. He was too busy talking on his phone!

I walked into a shop and held the door open for the woman following me. She walked on without so much as a glance at me. I put on my frightfully posh voice and said, "You're welcome. Please, don't mention it." I didn't receive so much as a flicker of interest.

When I reached the checkout, the girl behind the till talked non-stop to a colleague while she slowly put my items through the scanner. Still talking, she held out her hand for my payment. I handed over my card, she dealt with it and handed it back. She didn't utter so much as a 'good morning', a 'please' or a 'thank you'. I would have fired her on the spot.

I followed a middle-aged man out of the store. He opened the door, walked through and let the door slam behind him. Right in my face. Grrr.

That brief excursion took around half an hour and I returned home in a really bad mood. I've decided to have a good look at the WIP and check to make sure it's bang up to date and a true reflection of everyday life. If I have a character holding a door open for someone, or uttering old-fashioned words like 'please' or 'thank you', I'm going to hit the Delete key.

Is it me? Have manners become a thing of the past? Are people still polite in your part or the world?

Thank you for listening. I feel much better for that rant. :)


Maureen A. Miller said...

I agree with you, Shirley. It takes so little effort to be nice, and much more effort to be rude. I always open doors for people, and if someone says, "Thank you" and makes my day brighter.

THANK YOU for a great post.

Shirley Wells said...

It just makes the world a far nicer place, doesn't it, Maureen? And it stops me having to rant. :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Oh, Shirley, you should move to Canada. We're known for our politeness! :-)

J Wachowski said...

Poor Shirley. I've had those days.

Had to drive to the boondocks for work yesterday, creepy deserted area, that's seen better days. I crossed the parking lot & looked up to see a man waiting for me-- holding the door. (His wife had already gone into the store, found a cart and headed off to shop.)

I said gee, thanks! Later, I noticed I was a bit more patient (& polite) with the people in line ahead of me. See, the guy started a trend. :)

If that doesn't work for you, I say leave the nicities in the book. Genre fiction is meant to be prescriptive, not descriptive. (That's for literary fic.)

In Romantic Suspense, justice always prevails, and politely!


Rita said...

Don't know if it's the economy or what but people seem to be angry and bitter. The days I go out and about I make a list of things I need to do and then make a route. There are days that it becomes so frustrating halfway through I give up and go home. What I find so disconcerting is that the vast majority of the rude people here in Florida are the older people. What's up with that? Little blue pills not working anymore.
There are places I avoid during certain times of the day. I call it the crazy time. You know, like this time of year you never go to Home Depot or Ace Hardware at nine o'clock on a Saturday or Sunday morning. You never go to the grocery after 10 o'clock on the days that they offer all the 2 fors.
If it gets really bad I come home and have what I call an attitude adjuster. An adult beverage or a straight shot of Partida or Jamison's.

Toni Anderson said...

I've had a couple of these days lately.
Even Canadians can be rude :) But most people are polite and it costs nothing.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Toni, what are you saying?! Say it isn't so!

Karen C said...

I completely agree with you, Shirley; I see more and more of it. And, like you, I'm apt to go with the sarcasm and say 'you're welcome'.

Shirley Wells said...

Oh, Marcelle. I would so love to move to Canada. If you find a waif on your doorstep, it'll be me. :)

Julie - That guy sounds wonderful. Hope his wife appreciates him. 'Prescriptive' - yes, I like that!

Rita - the fact that older people are rude is so much worse. We can all mutter about the 'youth of today', but older people should know better. I tend to opt for the adult beverages too. ;)

Toni, I refuse to believe that Canadians can be rude. She's telling lies, isn't she, Marcelle? :)

Karen, I'm not sure if the sarcasm does any good but it always makes me feel a whole lot better. :)

Carmen said...

I had a similar experience the other day at whole foods. I’m ‘looking choosing’ my vegetables/stuff and these 2 kids walked right in front of me as if I was a ghost, not excuse me, or sorry, nothing.. I was about one foot away from the display. I looked around and the dad wasn’t too far away distracted. Shortly after he did the exact same thing as the kids, walked right in front of me without any acknowledgment. Are people so oblivious of ‘others’ and their space now days?

Shirley Wells said...

Carmen, it's easy to see where the kids get their manners. Or rather, don't get them. It drives me mad. :)

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