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Not So Common Courtesy

Lo cortes no quita lo valiente

By Edie J. Adler
Published on LatinoLA: June 25, 2009


Not So Common Courtesy


Is it me, or has common courtesy gone the way of the dodo bird? I mean, I am not that old; next September I will be celebrating only the 7th anniversary of my 40th birthday. Yet, I feel as if I was raised in a different century or perhaps even a different planet. Maybe it was the Twilight Zone!

What makes people think it is perfectly OK to cut off in front of you at the freeway off ramp after you have been patiently waiting for two hours? What gives folks the right to step right up and take that last yummy sample at Costco, after you've been awaiting your turn?

I was having some issues with my "state of the art" MP3 player/camera/fax machine/instant type writer/video recorder/cell phone, so I decided to brave the three-hour wait at the wireless store to have one of those freaky teenagers with all the tattoos and body piercings fix my gadget so I could make a phone call, while all the other adolescent employees looked at me with that blank look of contempt that means "what's wrong with you lady, this is sooo simple!" As I sat there waiting, knowing everyone knew I should not have bought that complicated piece of equipment, I noticed a bunch of little kids playing with the phones on display. Apparently their parents had been abducted by aliens, because the poor creatures were running amok completely unattended.

Every time I get on an elevator I make a point of saying "hello." 99% of the time people avoid my eyes, pretend to be on the phone, or simply look at me without a "hi" back.

Still I have made a conscious decision to be civil and have good manners; no matter how many times strangers make a point to show their lack of courtesy.

Sadly, this horrific trend is not limited to strangers. How many times do you invite people to a dinner party only to have mostly no RSVP's (which by the way is French for PLEASE RESPOND) or to have those who said they were coming be no shows? Don't this people know that a dinner party takes preparation? I am not one who invites people over simply to order pizza!

Or how about the folks who show up at temple wearing jeans and flip flops? My friend Dennis Prager notes that people will wear their best garments for the Academy Awards, but not to visit God's official house!

Let's not forget about Senator Boxer, embarrassing herself and our state by "correcting" Brigadier General Michael Walsh, after he respectfully addressed her as Ma'am. Even if the good general had made a blunder, the right way to handle a situation like that would have been to bring this error to his attention in private!

Recently my husband Neal and I offered to host a party for a friend. After several e-mails, change of dates to accommodate some guests, additional trips to the grocery store, menu planning, and a massive cleaning of the house, we were informed the party had been moved to a different date and a more desirable location with a pool! Hazme el favor!

Having five cats, five dogs and three birds, I usually shop at Costco about twice a week. This past Tuesday I went to the store in Burbank, CA to buy a few items. As usual it took some looking to find a clean shopping cart. Why do people think it's OK to leave their trash behind for others to clean? On my way out, I was standing in line behind a tall, heavy set man. As he placed his items on the belt, he threw a couple of napkins on the floor. I decided to point out the trash can right next to him, which he had obviously missed.

That was enough to incite his indignation and fury. He looked at me, his eyes red with rage, a thin stream of sweat forming on his forehead and said: "whatyou want me to pick up the trash?" "You're the one who threw it on the floor" I replied. "What are you gonna do, call the police?" "No"  I said "I just think it would be polite for you to put your trash in the trash can, not the floor."

I cannot repeat all the things he said to me at this point. He got right up to my face, waving his finger, asking why I wanted to start trouble, or if I wanted him to start trouble. I said "I'm not starting anything. I simply pointed the trash can to youwhat are you going to do, beat me up?"

All the while people, including several men, just stood by, as this man, twice my size, yelled at me with aggression and a threatening demeanor. The Costco employees finally opened a new register just for me, at the other end of the store. I walked away upset with myself for walking away. What upsets me the most is the fact that more than a few men just stood by. What happened to chivalry? If my beloved father had witnessed such behavior, he would have confronted the idiot and demanded an immediate apology to the lady! I myself would not hesitate to step in to confront such rude behavior if I ever witnessed it!

One of the first things I learned as a child was that good manners are a standard of good upbringing and a reflection on people's family.

My husband says I expect too much from people. Sadly, I don't. Unfortunately, I am getting used to living in a world full of rude Neanderthals!

However, I am a courteous person and I refuse to change! I can only hope other considerate people will stand their ground and continue not only to be civil, but to demand respect and good behavior from others, for without basic civility and good manners, a society will eventually collapse!

About Edie J. Adler:
Edie J. Adler is a free lance writer, public speaker and voice over artist. Edie and her husband Neal live in the San Fernando Valley with their three birds, five cats and five dogs.
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