Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Politeness, Grown-ups and...Excuse Me?

Hey gang!  Here I am!  I have been hiding somewhat...some folks may refer to this particular state of being as "employed".  I just let myself get in a rut where blogging took a backseat to all kinds of other stuff.  Like work.  And moving.  Finding a place to live.  Buying a car.  Meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

And I thus abandoned my blog for far too long.  Shame on me!  (I'm back, little Bloggy-blog, don't worry, I didn't really leave!)

Annnyyyhooo....was thinking about what to write today, when a discussion between my husband and I over the supper table (yeah, that's right, supper, none of these fancy-ass, big-feeling words like dinner.  La tee frikkin da!) inspired me.

Something I think we have taken for granted and just don't seem to think about because I know I hadn't really noticed and I am sure most of us don't.

Being polite.

I don't just mean being "not rude"...I mean going the extra mile to utter an extra two or three extra syllables that takes what you are saying all the way from merely "going through the motions" to actual politeness.

He has mentioned it to me a few times in the past, that people here sometimes just don't seem really friendly or polite; kind of like they don't really care about other people or who they are talking to.  I nodded in agreement, but in truth, I really thought he was being too sensitive and more or less shrugged it off.  How on earth could he think that?  We are super friendly around here!

I did, on occasion, try to explain it away by trying to convince him that people not going that extra mile to say "Thank you" or "Excuse me" as part of a sentence they were already uttering, was just an oversight and that they are not actually being rude.  And for the most part, no, they are not being rude.  Not even a little bit.

I thought he was being silly and just didn't catch it or failed to notice when people were actually being polite.  Then, I realized he notices this often and I am not listening to him or taking him seriously.  So, recently, I started to pay attention, because he just has to be wrong about that.  Canadians are really nice.  Especially we East Coasters.

Aren't we??

Well...yeah...we are nice people, but we don't always show it, especially in the eyes of someone who comes from a place where politeness is valued pretty highly.

He once came home from a walk, completely perplexed because some middle-aged woman in a car, slowed down and asked, "Have you seen a black dog?".  Not "Excuse me, have you seen a black dog?" or "Hi, have you seen a black dog?" (although still creepy when some rando pulls up in a car, no matter what sex, age or size...they had better keep a safe distance, thankyouverymuch).

When he replied, "Sorry, I have not.", she simply said, "Ok." and drove off.  No simple "thank you", not even an "Oh my." or "Oh dear." that would have shown she was distraught and worried.  He just couldn't understand why someone wouldn't bother throwing in at least one nice word when asking for information from a stranger.

Yes, she was probably upset and wasn't thinking, as I explained to him - however, this is (sadly), sort of the norm with exchanges between people these days, even when not under stress or upset about something.

It happened to both of us the other day (with some rando in a car!  Of course.  I think I am seeing a pattern here.)  A car full of adults pulled up alongside me in a parking lot and the young woman in the passenger seat asked, "Do you guys know where the dog park is?"  I thought for a second and replied, "No, sorry, I don't."  She just said, "Ok", and they drove away.  (I don't recall a dog anywhere in the vehicle...interesting.  Or maybe creepy.)

It hit me right then and there...at first, it didn't bother me at all that she didn't say "excuse me", "thank you", or even "thanks anyway".  After all, she wasn't actually being rude and she did sound nice.  But that was my "aha" moment.  I suddenly realized that she couldn't even be bothered with a split second "thank you" or "excuse me".

There are lots of other examples, now that I have actually started paying attention, but I won't get into them here...because I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer it's a blog, not an epic.

The biggest thing my husband noticed was the age difference in who is polite and who is not.  He has had lots of good experiences with people being polite:  people saying "thank you" when he holds a door for them; people saying excuse me when reaching in front of him (sometimes even just somewhat close to him) for something on the shelf at the grocery store; people saying "please" or "do you mind..." when asking for something.  What he noticed is that almost every single time, it is someone in their teens or younger, who has the consideration to show simple politeness to others...even when it was just something he overheard in public.

It almost seems that once we hit adulthood, we unconsciously have decided we have the right to let go or slack off with regard to what words we use with other people.  There have been a few adults who have been polite (and it always surprises him when they are); but for the most part, adults of all ages, seem to be the worst culprits with being, well...lazy, when it comes to words that show simple courtesy to those around them.

Some folks just take it for granted that others are on the same page as them, so don't make the effort; thereby displaying the same lack of courtesy they would possibly complain about if the tables were turned.  An extra two or three syllables take very little effort (i.e. none).

It is not about being old-fashioned...because it is we grown-ups who seem to be the guilty party, not the kids. We got lazy.  Perhaps recipients of rudeness, be it the apathetic kind or the intentional kind, should have the right to scold and slap offenders upside the head it is time to revisit the things we knew when we were little.

Mind your manners.
Remember to always use "Please" and "Thank you".
If you want to be understood, use your words.
And most of all, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Weren't most of us raised that way?

Just some philosophical ramblings about some little things that could make a nice difference to someone's day...maybe even yours!  (^_^)

Thanks for listening...err...reading!  lol