I know it is the holiday season. I know people are stressed. This is ironic because this is supposed to be the season of goodwill and giving, but so much for that, right? On Monday alone I had two encounters with rudeness. I don’t let stuff get me down too much – I mean, who has that time to wallow, but when it’s blatant I notice it. Plus, I’m on the rag so…’nuf said.
Rudeness incident #1: I was at a small town appliance shop wanting to give my money to the locals versus the big box bandits. I’m pretty sure at this particular store you have to be over 70 years old to have a job. I was working with Bob, trying to sort out the specifics of converting a wood burning fireplace into gas. I love gas. Bob was the best. A grandfatherly type who made me feel like I was about five years old. Sweet, thorough, taking his time.
Enter into the store a flashy older woman with bright lipstick outside of the lines seeping into the cracks around her lips. She asks Bob for a part for her ice maker. We got to small talking about ice and how much we love it. Because what else do you talk about in an appliance store? It was fascinating. I learned that when she went to Mexico the only Spanish she learned was how to say “More ice please.”
While she was paying for her part, she got a call on her cell phone, which she chose to take despite being in the middle of a transaction with Bob. She continued this cell phone conversation at a decibel that carried through the entire appliance store. Bob and I were trying to work numbers and Ms. Lipstick was over there yelling, “I KNOW!! IN NEED MY ICE MAKER FIXED!! I HAVE TO HAVE MY ICE! YES, LET’S MEET FOR LUNCH. THEY HAVE REALLY GOOD PASTA! DID I TELL YOU I LIKE ICE??”
Bob was giving her the stink eye and shaking his head at me. “She should take it outside,” he mumbled in that gentle way only Bob could pull off.
Rudeness Incident #2: I went to the coffee shop. There was a visible line inside. As I approached the door, a man was approaching at the same time. In my little world, it is customary for the man to open the door (he got there first) and hold it open for the woman, even if it means that he will get in line behind her. Nope. He barreled on in, barely reaching back to grab the door before it hit me.
Here's the thing. I know neither of these people have ill intentions or are bad people. They are just in their own little worlds, self absorbed, lacking awareness about common courtesy. Yes, I have been known to be in my own little world as well. For example, on Tuesday I got into my car which was parked in the garage, then opened the garage door with the remote, then backed out of the garage before the door was up. CLUELESS. I damaged both my car and the door. BLOND MOMENT. But, I was not rude to anyone in the process.
Can’t we all just have some awareness about how we move through the world? Can’t we take that extra moment to quiet our cell phones or hold open doors or wave someone into our lane when they’re trying to merge? It is simple human to human common courtesy. I have come to the conclusion that people think they can be rude because you are anonymous to them and they will never see you again. In my book, that should be irrelevant.
When people lack awareness in these areas, it makes me even more determined to be make an effort to hold that door, to say thank you or to give a smile to a stranger. I know I have had my clueless moments as well. I try to make up for them as best as I can.
Have you had any recent experiences with rudeness? How did you handle it?