Manners Are SO Last Year!
My husband and I have the absolute worst luck in this galaxy when it comes to going to a movie theater and having a fully enjoyable experience, free of interruptions and chaos. Last weekend we went to see Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark. Aside from the technical difficulties the theater experienced while trying to show the film and the loud popcorn crunchers that we’ve learned to expect and accept, we had a group of talkers and laughers behind us who kept up their personal soundtrack throughout the movie and two teenage boys who were chronic phone checkers and put on a light show for everyone in the bottom section with their smartphones.
I’ve given up hope that the world will ever learn to chew their food with their collective mouths shut, so my husband and I tend to attempt to find spots to sit in theaters where we’ll experience the least distraction. What I shouldn’t have to tolerate are the people who pay to go to a movie only to ruin it by talking through the whole thing or who can’t stand going an hour without updating Facebook. This extends outside of movie theaters to virtually every place imaginable outside the house. At work I am currently blasting Korn on my iPod to drown out a woman cracking her gum, a man clipping his nails, a girl loudly chomping Cheetos, and a couple of men having a loud conversation about meeting girls online. At work. Yesterday while driving home we almost hit a guy who was more interested in his mail than he was about being in the way of oncoming traffic. Prior to that we had a golf cart wait in a driveway until we were nearly on top of it before it pulled out directly in front of us, causing us to slam on our brakes. People encountered while trying to walk will make zero effort to get out of the way for you, regardless of the fact that they and their 5 friends are blocking the entire hallway. Grocery store patrons will run you down or bump into you rather than say “excuse me.” I’m at a point to where I’m shocked when a child says “excuse me” or “please.” In short, people have become assholes.
I’m not that old at 30, but I find myself thinking “When I was in high school, I wasn’t a douchebag like these kids” or “Do they not teach manners anymore? Because I was taught manners in school.” I feel like the world I grew up in has vanished, replaced by rude thoughtless little pigs who run amok without a care in the world or a vague understanding of courtesy and respect of others. Somewhere along the line, society quit giving a damn about anyone and everyone around them. We don’t say please and thank you anymore because we’re expecting to receive things when we want it and how we want it; there is no room for niceties anymore. If we’re walking, anyone in our path is in OUR way, not vice versa, so they had better move because we’re not side stepping or saying “excuse me.” Children and teenagers act as if they walk on water, adults act as if everyone surrounding them is worth less than dirt. It’s disgusting.
The part that worries me the most is that people like me seem to be the minority. People who still believe in manners and respecting the personal space and boundaries of others, who give a “thanks” for the person holding the door for us and do the same for the person behind, who don’t walk around as if we’re the only one who exists and/or matters. Instead we are now overrun with people who believe that those around them should both tolerate and accept their bad behavior, be it the gum popping cow I work with or the people who refuse to silence their cell phones in theaters or doctor’s offices. For some reason, the rude actions of one person snowball and soon enough everyone in the office is cracking their gum and no one has their phone on silent. Kids see their parents ramming into store patrons and figure that they are allowed to do so as well. Pretty soon we have a nation of assholes promoting their asshole behavior and making people who are considerate of others feel like outcasts. No wonder other countries call Americans fat pigs. We are exactly that.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have no desire to surround myself with people who choose to act low-class simply because it serves their needs better. There are a lot of people in this world and unless you decide to become a hermit or that weird rich guy who lives on the corner and is never seen leaving his house, you’re going to be forced to come into contact with other members of society on a daily basis. You’re going to be put in social situations where you’re comfortable and situations that you can’t wait to escape. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for acting poorly around others when it’s so easy to be respectful. Treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. Understand that public places demand different behaviors than your living room and make the proper adjustments. Try and think of things this way before doing them: If someone was doing ____ around me, would I be okay with it? If the answer is no, Don’t Do It. Have some pride in yourself and put your best face forward when out in public. Otherwise, stay home.