I really do not know what is so difficult about saying yes ma’am or no sir or any other polite greeting for that matter. Our society has become the great rude society, and we continue to learn ways to excel at being rude to one another. It truly is a shame.
When I was in my formative years, Mom and Dad insisted that I be polite, they taught me manners, they had an expectation that I would be polite on all occasions, and if I didn’t meet those expectations there was a price. Sometimes that price seemed excessive, but in retrospect it really wasn’t. I learned early to always say please and thank you and yes and no sir. Over the years I got into a ton of trouble for a wide variety of reasons, but I never got into trouble for mouthing off.
Over the last few years, I have noticed a significant lessening of manners and politeness. Maybe it is a sign of the aging process. You see it all around you, in conversations at restaurants, folks flipping you off as you drive, or people pushing and shoving to get to the front of a line. People yakking or texting during a movie, people cutting you off at gas stations so they can get to a pump faster or make for a quicker exit, are further examples. The kids seem to copy their parents, if a mom or dad is rude, you can pretty much count on the child being rude. Rudeness has become a learned behavior. When did this process start, when did parents stop teaching and insisting that their kids be polite?
Halloween night was the night for little ones, and not so little ones. I had one ground rule for those over 4, you had to say “Trick or Treat” or I didn’t give any candy. I stood there with the candy bucket in my hand waiting, over 60 percent of the kids that came to the door did in fact say “Trick or Treat,” without being prompted. But that means 40 pct of the kids that came to the door needed to be prompted. Of the kids “trick or treating” only about 65 percent said thank you once I gave them the treat. Maybe I am a lot older fashioned than even I imagined, but it shouldn’t be that way. But what was really disturbing was that 35 pct of the kids didn’t feel the need to say thank you. That simple courtesy was ignored. Again what are these kids parents doing? What were they taught?
By the way, I did say “you’re welcome” to each child I gave candy. I also used phrases like “good evening” and “how are you” while looking directly at them.
Years ago when I first moved to Florida, my wife and I had to make numerous trips to Walmart to pick up those things you always need when you move into a new home. After the 20th trip or so to Walmart, and not once in all those trips did it seemed like the checkout person looked at me when they asked me “How are you.” Well one morning I responded “I am Old and Cranky,” the clerk immediately looked up, when she realized I wasn’t really cranky, that I was actually smiling at her, a smile broke out on her face, and she said, “You’re not cranky.” My point is we had a civil exchange. She was polite to me and I was to her, it made the entire transaction easier for both of us. Since that morning, if I am asked by a check out person “how I am” and the person asking the question isn’t looking at me, I then respond “Old and Cranky,” because once they look up and realize I am neither, a civil exchange begins. Shared politeness makes everyone’s day just a bit easier, it rounds over the edges on what could otherwise be a bad day. It lessens the burden. Those shared politeness are really is how exchanges should be made.
Now that I have that off my chest, let me bend your ear for a moment talking about the fools, idiots, numbskulls, brainless wonders, knuckle draggers, and other rude folks that run red lights and stop signs. I’m not talking about that individual that accidentally runs a light, (though they are just as guilty), I am talking about those red light runners that make a sport of it. Since the law allowing motorists to turn right on REDafter stop became effective in the 1970’s, it has become a big league game for many on how and when they can run lights and stop signs. The further away we get from when this law was established the more rampant red light and stop sign running has become. I live in an area where between my home and the “main” road are 4 four-way stops. At each of these intersections you will always find a freshly swept pile of broken glass, or a fender, or an oil spot, because someone always runs the stop sign and plows into someone else. It is a hell of a note when you come to a red light or stop sign, the 1st thing you have to check is the car behind you to determine their intent. You immediately tap your brakes just to let them know you are not running the light or sign. When I first moved to Florida I complained to a friend about all the red light and stop sign running that happens in the area. His response was that here in Florida red lights and stop signs were only meer suggestions. The worst part of this is that the statement he made is right, the fools, idiots, numbskulls, brainless wonders, knuckle draggers, and other rude folks that run red lights and stop signsdo so to save a minute at best, or because the law doesn’t apply to them, or there wasn’t any traffic anyway, or any of thousands of other potential excuses. But the fact is every time one of these folks run a red light or stop sign they put my and your life in danger.
I don’t know how to fix this problem the simplest way would to be more enforcement. But that isn’t always practical. I guess I am saying that you should be more aware, that you should try not to become a statistic, and watch out all the time.
Please take care, and as always thanks for taking the time to read my post. Any thoughts or comments are always welcome. — Bill