Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Manners...more than please and thank you....

Short rant of the night....

As I find myself in this world I run into so many mad and angry people. I run into so many people who are so rude to others and clueless about how their presence and attitude may affect those around them. They appear to have a sense of entitlement that I just don't understand, a sense that the world revolves around them and they are somehow better and more important than every one else around them.

When you are growing up you are always taught to say "please" and "thank you". Sometimes I think this is all people took from their childhood. They can remember to say please and they can remember to say thank you, but they have no concept about empathy, genuine kindness and caring or regard for others. They often cannot see past their own noses and when it comes right down to it, they just do not care, in general.

I think living in New York City, these things seem to be more obvious than ever, or perhaps I am just hyper aware and sensitive to it lately. Last week, my co-workers and I were talking about our pet peeves and just our frustrations with people, in general.

I honestly think it is a rare quality these days for someone to understand how their presence in this world may affect or impact others. Subways, streets and bodegas are all places that seem to breed this type of awful, rude and clueless behavior by my fellow humans.

From women who flick their hair on the subway (almost causing someone to lose an eye), to people who are clueless about how their umbrellas may be harming others, to a woman at a bodega buying her lunch who is just so rude and condescending to the cashier. Why is all of this ok? Why is it ok to treat others with total disregard and sometimes total disrespect.

What makes them feel like it is ok to take over the entire sidewalk in a downpour, not feel the need to move to the center of the train to make room for others, not give up their seat for a pregnant woman or elderly man, not hold the door open for you as you pass through and totally jump in front as you are waiting patiently to get onto the train?

At what point in their lives did they decide and realize they were better and deserved this special treatment. Were they given one too many gold starts in kindergarten that honestly made them believe that their shit didn't stink.

Do they honestly not see how their attitude and presence negatively effects others, or do they just not care? Do they honestly have no ability to empathize with the cashier, waiter, MTA worker or custodian. When they are on the subway and they are taking up more room than anyone else and they are not moving down to make room for others, why aren't they. Would them claim ignorance, assholeness or entitlement? I honestly am not sure.

It scares me that empathy and respect do not seem to be something that is taught, or at least not retained and kept as a trait that is necessary for success and survival in this world. It is starting to feel more and more like you either get it, or you don't. It is starting to feel more and more like there just are certain people who feel that this is their world and as long as they are on-time, happy, comfortable, with enough room and are dry that it doesn't matter how the get there and who they have to whip in the face, step on or run off the sidewalk. I use to always think it was really all about saying "please" and "thank you." The more I exist in this world, the more I realize how superficial these manners are....there are so many more important manners than "please" and "thank you".

I honestly believe if more people could empathize and put themselves in the other person's shoes, the more we would be reminded of our humanness and the more difficult it would be to treat each other like shit, because lets be honest, that is what a lot of us do. We are often so consumed with our own lives, troubles and worries that we do not even worry about how others are doing and feeling. How can we be more conscious of empathy and how can we ensure we carry kindness and respect throughout our daily lives.

I am not trying to say there aren't some assholes in this world and sure, I have no doubt it can be challenging to keep your cool when in a difficult situation, let's just all try and make a promise, a humanity pledge if you will, to before we react, always try and do the human check, put ourselves in that other person's shoes and try and understand where that person is coming from. Try and assume good will and try and never lose the lesson from every interaction we have.

I know myself well enough to know that whenever I am walking down the sidewalk with my umbrella if someone is walking towards me with their umbrella, while there may be an initial stand-off, I always end up being the person that breaks left. Why is this my role in the world. Why am I the one always willing to break.

I appreciate my humanness and I am obviously grateful for all of my life experiences and interactions, I just hope that we can start looking a bit more outside of ourselves. This world is never going to be a place of love, peace and acceptance if no one can see beyond their own nose.

And thats all she wrote....


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