The Disintegration of Manners: A Rant | Tarreyn Land: The Disintegration of Manners: A Rant

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Disintegration of Manners: A Rant

           Howdy Folks! Now, to anyone who has read this blog before, you are aware that in general I am a pretty happy lady. I exude pep the way Penelope Cruz exudes pheromones. However, that being said, sometimes I just need to rant. Every now and then, all that pent up adrenaline needs an outlet. Today is that time. For today's tirade, I am examining something that really steams my carrots and plagues me on a daily basis: the lack of manners in society today.
           What happened to manners? And good service? And overall friendliness?! I know they existed at one time. I know that somewhere, at some point, manners were an important element of society and relationships. Call me old fashioned, but I long for the time when proper manners and friendly attitudes were strongly valued. When a snub or slight or scoff was considered the height of ineptitude. I want to show up at the soda shop and have friendly Bobby-Jo bring me my milk shake with a smile. Or to have kind gentlemen stand when I leave a table (or if not stand, at least acknowledge my absence somehow. Maybe a nod. Maybe a sly little wink upon my return. But something!) Sadly, those days are gone. We live in a world where apparently, certain social graces are slipping further and further away.
           How hard is it to smile back at someone?! Or to NOT honk at a person helplessly stalled by a red light?! Or move your shopping cart out of the MIDDLE of the aisle?! How much can it possibly pain one to give another human being in their realm of existence a slight sign of polite acknowledgement? Are we just getting lazier, or do manners and friendliness really not rank high on the list of priorities any more? Or both?
           Everywhere I go I seem to be barraged with people who either don't know the values of manners and general social consciousness and consideration, or who've chosen to ignore it all. If I get through a whole movie or play without someone in the audience texting or forgetting to turn their cell phone off, it feels like a little victory. That should not be the case. Nor should it be the norm for me to have to gear up before going out in preparation for indifference veering on rudeness from a vast majority of people I encounter. 
           And customer service! Don't EVEN get me started! If I'm correct, you GET PAID to do a service for people! To all you apron-clad employees out there, I get it. Maybe you don't like your job. Maybe you could care less. Maybe you feel like if you have to ring up one more non-fat soy hazelnut latte you're going to dump it on top of the customer's head, but I've got news for you: It's your job. It was literally what you were hired to do. 
           Perhaps I've been watching too much Downton Abbey lately. Maybe I'm setting my standards too high in my hopes that people take their jobs, however slight they think them to be, and put some amount of congenial effort into it. I'm not asking for Pollyanna everywhere I go, but basic civility would be GREATLY appreciated. Am I really asking that much? 
           I get it, we all have bad days. We all have those mornings where we wake up and the LAST thing in the universe we have any desire to do is interact with another human being. But guess what? We ALL have to do it. We all need to understand that interacting with others is part of life, and you know going into not only your job, but into the world of co-existing humans, its part of the deal. If you can't get out of it, get in to it. 
           This symptom of rude ambivalence, however, is not just everyone having bad days. It is a serious epidemic of a lack of civility and decorum that is rapidly spanning across the country. Somewhere out there, Emily Post is rolling over in her grave. HOW HARD IS IT TO SAY THANK YOU?! It's Not. Not hard at all. Say excuse me. Or You're Welcome. Realize that while obviously your cart full of akmaks is clearly the most important thing in the store, there are other people in there besides you, and that maybe they need room also. Hold the door open TWO extra seconds. Wave thanks when someone lets you cut traffic. Little things make all the difference. 
           Now my dear readers, I'm sure that none of you have this problem. I'm sure I am sending this out into the ether to a plethera of kind, well-mannered folk. However, that means that I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about. I am crying out for change and hopes that things turn around. I ask you to join me in the mission for manners. The fight for friendliness. The crusade for consideration. The more of us that make it a priority, the better the odds become for spreading better behavior and increased social style. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said "A man's manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait." Let us all aim for beautiful portraits. 

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