My husband and I are borderline obsessed with all things Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and the round-headed twat that is Karl Pilkington. We received a regional DVD player for Christmas and are now able to catch up on standup specials and both seasons of An Idiot Abroad. On our road trip to Tennessee, we listened to nothing but their podcasts for the entire drive down, and we often listen in the car on the way to work or while headed home. On this particular day, one of the topics of the podcast was etiquette and manners. They brought up the classes that used to be mandatory that would teach a person proper posture, which utensils to use while eating and how to use them, and other basic mannerisms to be used in daily life.
Ricky Gervais and I share the same opinion on people who eat with their mouths open; he went into a tangent on how vile and disgusting it is to see someone eating with their mouth wide open as if the world is dying to see their half chewed dinner. He said his ideal restaurant would be one that was empty except for him. Totally ridiculous proposition but I am also totally on board with him. Go to a Mexican restaurant and you have countless people chomping chips with their jaw nearly unhinged, filling the room with the deafening sound of crunching. One time at Applebee’s we were seated near a girl who was eating her salad the way you would see a squirrel munching on lettuce, only minus the cute factor. Do I have to bring up the way people eat popcorn at a theater? In public, people smack their food, lick their fingers, and generally act as if they had been living in a cave for years and are just now able to go out into public, unsure of how to act or what is proper.
It’s not just the eating habits that have convinced me that manners are a thing of the past, but it’s the general behavior of people one encounters every day. At work, it’s a rarity I get a “thank you” for holding a door open for somebody. This morning, I had to press myself against the wall because four people coming down the hall the opposite way refused to move to let me by. Just after they passed, a woman shoulder bumped me after she and her group also refused to budge to let me pass, no “sorry” or “excuse me” or any effort to get out of my way, even though she and her companions were rudely blocking the hallway for everyone who was simply trying to get their workday started. At my desk later, a man stood slurping his coffee loudly as I worked, then left the office with his coffee cup still on my desk, leaving a lovely ring. Restaurant patrons, in both fine dining and fast food, treat the person serving them as a lowly servant and demanding things rather than simply asking “can I” or may I.”
The way we treat people around us is just disgusting. I absolutely think that it’s important to put yourself first in life and ensure you and your family are taken care of and free from harm, but I also think this can be done without putting anyone else out and without becoming a hindrance to those around us. Take personal phone calls in the office for example. Your coworkers are attempting to do their job in the most efficient and stress-free possible way. Should they be forced to listen to a 30 minute one-sided conversation while you plan your child’s wedding or schedule kitchen repairs, or should they be forced to miss you for a bit while you step outside to a break area or to your car to use your cell phone? If you forgot to clip your nails before work, should your coworkers have to witness you clipping away at your desk, held captive at their own as you groom yourself, or should you sacrifice a couple of minutes at your desk and at least go to the restroom? It’s slightly inconvenient to have to adjust your behavior in public, sure, but it’s even more putting out to be the person that is minding their manners but still forced to deal with people who can’t keep their vile and annoying habits in check.
It’s odd, but I encounter better behaved people at rock/metal concerts than I do in my office, in any given grocery or clothing store, movie theaters, malls, my former neighborhood, parking lots, medical offices, buffets, or just those you encounter while traveling from point A to B. For some reason, the people who are thrown together with the common interest of whatever band is on stage also (mostly) all have this mutual respect for each other and manage to behave like civil and decent human beings, even with the alcohol and whatever other substances are thrown into the mix. If a bunch of lunatics smoking weed on the lawn while headbanging to Seether can manage their behavior, why can’t everyone else?
I don’t consider myself to be old-fashioned, nor do I think I’m easily annoyed. I wasn’t brought up in an anal household where I was made to eat without dropping a single crumb or dirtying even a corner of my napkin. I didn’t undergo extreme etiquette training that has now made me into an intolerant person. Quite simply, I just expect to be able to go through life without bumping into a rude and thoughtless person around every corner. I’m considering asking Ricky Gervais if my husband and I can move in.
Posted on February 20, 2012, in Crazy People, Life, TV/Movies, Work and tagged eating, etiquitte, gossip, karl pilkington, manners, movie, podcast, popcorn, ricky gervais, rude, stephen merchant. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.