Everywhere you go, wherever you turn, whether you are travelling, working, shopping, social networking one is struck by the insensitivity portrayed by people! It is like they have no time to be courteous anymore! I am generally a rather placid and easy-going person! I generally don’t take offence very easily… but I do draw the line too!!! I find nothing more insufferable than lack of basic courtesy in certain matters. Five discourteous ways that peeve me no end are…
Late Kate: Take tardiness, for instance. Lateness does not equal greatness, but recently I’ve observed that more and more people must believe it to be so. “Fashionably Late” has become a ‘thing’! How many times have you been a situation when you are minutes away from a rendezvous at an allocated time, when you receive a text that they are going to be late twenty minutes because they are “running behind”? Why? If you have allocated a time, make sure you keep the appointment! The only time I would see it as even remotely forgivable, is if the person being met is receiving a tangible favour from the encounter! (actually even then… courtesy demands that you be punctual!) Otherwise, a meeting should only be delayed in this way if either party could not possibly have yet left their prior location. Traffic exists; rain usually occurs according to forecasts; taxis can be hard to find, trains and subways may be delayed for a few minutes for no apparent reason. But that’s why you leave yourself enough time to make it on time. I do not believe that I’m remarkable enough to wait for. Nor should you!!!
Distracted Kate: Then on arrival at the appointed location, there is the distraction with the mobile phone! Surely it should be common courtesy if you are meeting with someone to focus your attention on them. If there was something more vital, you should be off doing that, not subjecting some poor person to watching you stare at a blinking screen for an hour as you “check-in” on Facebook or tweet where you are. And then of course there is the problem of the phone ringing!? You know, you can decline a call just as easily as you can take it, right?!?!! If you think it could be urgent, surely, you can ask to be excused, take it away and answer with a quick, “I am in a meeting, if it’s not urgent may I call you back?” And if you can’t be bothered with all this courtesy, turn off the damn device and let the MessageBank take the call!!
Driving me insane, Kate: Another thing that drives me insane is poor driving etiquette (no pun intended)!!!! Jeez! Drivers are by far the most impolite bunch! You are driving merrily listening to music, minding your speed and lane and Bam!!! Someone pulls up abruptly in front of you or changes lanes without indicating, causing you to slam on your breaks! No apologetic wave, no acknowledgement of the fact that they nearly killed you! Nothing… they just move on like they are God’s gift to mankind and we are just meant to make way for them! And you know that odd person who won’t turn on red! Why?!?! And what about that annoying person who takes your parking spot by driving in while you are meticulously trying to reverse park!!!! Before you know it, the driver just gets off locks his car and chuffs off while you are left to do the rounds to look for another spot. No thank you! No Sorry! No eye contact! And of course the other end of the spectrum where that bloke is taking forever to leave a parking space while others are clearly waiting for it! Arrrrgh!!! Honestly, I never swore, till I started driving!
Mind your language, Kate: Poor English gets me too. People who don’t know when to use your/you’re or their/there/they’re. Using “me” where you should have “I,” or “who” instead of “whom”. Different than/different from! Less is in quantity, fewer is in number. You wouldn’t ask for fewer butter, now would you?? Don’t get me wrong! I do understand that the ever-complex and often-irregular English language is full of traps and pitfalls. For instance further versus farther, compliment versus complement, affect versus effect. But if you do have to write official e-mails, for God’s sake, get them right! And quite honestly sms speak in an e-mail is blasphemous! SMS speak is for mobile devices where there is a paucity of characters… in an e-mail you can go mental! And it really takes just a split second more to write “Hi i will be in a meeting from 2. I will see you three if that’s ok with you.” instead of “Hi i wiL b n a meeting frm 2. I wiL c U 3 f that’s k w U” and can be read, understood and appreciated much better!!!
Wait Kate: And then, we all know that one person who interrupts you repeatedly while speaking! They are loud when they interrupt and almost always have nothing to do with the topic of discussion. What is wrong with people who behave this way? Do they even realize what they are doing? In an argument they hear only theirs! They will never let you finish what you are saying! It’s like they have the attention span of a goldfish! They cannot let you finish what you are saying because they will forget what they are thinking! And in this category are spouses who choose to interrupt when their partner is talking! There is a time and place for everything, and shutting your significant other up at a party to show off your own knowledge or lack of respect for theirs is definitely neither the right place nor the right time!
Perhaps I am just getting old. Maybe it’s the new normal to arrive at a meeting twenty minutes late, driving like a maniac, parking in someone else’s spot to spend it’s duration broadcasting to the world where your physical but not mental presence is. But I’m nostalgic for a time of punctual people who gave you their full attention, waited for you to finish saying what’s on your mind and then contributing in healthy doses to the flow of ideas. Where driving was a means to get somewhere not drive others mental! Where it was graceful to be polite!
Sigh….. if the guy who said, “manners maketh a man” was to visit us now he would have to concur that man is falling apart!