Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ms. Lipstick

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?

SUAR

57 comments:

  1. The thing that gets me is no one says "thank you" or "your welcome" anymore, When I day "thanks" I get the usualt reply of "yep" or "sure"

    In some movie, Antonio Banderas said "Thank you" and some kid said "yep" which Antonio replied "The correct response is your welcome"

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  2. Chivalry is long dead. I have many a time though held a door open for a man who gladly went ahead of me. Sometimes, it gives them an "aha" moment though. :)

    Plus, people go crazy during the holidays (not to mention what too much ice can apparently do to you)!

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  3. The drop off line at my kids school is a nightmare!! It's a charter school, so everyone is dropping at the same time and people will cut you off like it's their job -- and these people will likely see me at some point. We need to institute remedial character counts education for adults!

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  4. I love you and your blog. Although I was CRACKING up at the fact that "blonde" was misspelled. Or so I thought. Google says 'blond' and 'blonde' are acceptable. Joke. is. on. me.

    People are super rude this time of year and I don't get it - they're cold, stressed, etc. Oh well.

    Earlier today I was at the grocery store looking for molasses, but couldn't find it... I asked the bakery assistant, and she had to ask her boss, who replied with a snide, "UGH. IN THE SYRUP AISLE, OF COURSE". Whoa, lady.

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  5. Amen, sista. I've had too many experiences of men not holding the door for me or not letting me off the elevator first. Come on!

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  6. I must say, now that we are techincally in "the south", I am really thankful that people down here are a lot nicer. I have felt it rub off on me too, because sometimes I feel downright mean compared to everyone else! Not to say I that I am mean, but yesterday I had a rather elderly man make a big deal to open the post office door for me, and another man came out at the same time so he didn't have to, but then ran ahead to get the second one (I had 2 shopping bags, one full of cards, another full of stuff that needed to be put in shipping evelopes, and Soren, in my hands). I MI, I don't know if that would have gone down that way. I probably would have had 1 door opened, and then tried to open it for the older man myself.

    However, people can't drive here at all, and it drives me nuts. I am constantly experiencing rudness with vehicles. I guess everyone is nice to your face, but not when they don't have to talk to you :)

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  7. While I've been fortunate to escape rudeness lately, I will say that the holding the door thing is my little "test" for people, especially at work. I find myself using it as a barometer for judging my coworkers. A lot of them tend to barrel in the door and not wait the 4 seconds to hold the door and greet someone else who is walking into the building.

    I try earnestly every day to be aware of others. I always ask servers, baristas, etc. "how are you?" or "how is your day" when I'm interacting. I used to work retail and I remember always feeling so relieved when someone treated my like a person and not a robot.

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  8. We were at Sizzler the other night waiting in a pretty long line when an older gentleman barged his way from the back of the line to the front, stopped the manager (who was not taking orders) and told him he needed to place a take out order. He's lucky it's Christmas time, I let it slide. A couple of weeks later, and I would have taken him down! :)

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  9. Funny, I was just thinking how kind people are...just turn on the news and you hear about random acts of kindness, especially during the holiday season. Focus on the good stuff, it's out there. If you don't see it, create it. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive through, you'll be smiling all day! :-)

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  10. We've always made our kids say Thank You, Please, Yes ma'am, No sir. Darn, We even still say that and we are 46 and 51. And I can't believe you kept your mouth shut both times! So proud (disappointed as well) of you! I would've said something rude. O wait....that's the whole point - not being rude. Darn it.

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  11. Rudeness is always shocking to me. I was taught politeness to a fault. I'm usually holding the door for others, expressing appreciation, etc. I make a concerted effort to put my phone away when i'm with others - I hate when i'm having lunch with a friend and they are head buried in their phones.

    My most recent brush with rudeness was on the way to the gym the other day. I was waiting to pull into a spot and the way the guy pulled out made me wait - this lady saw me waiting, maneuvered around both of us and took the spot. No sweat. I don't care that much and parked elsewhere.

    She got to the door a second sooner and literally let the door slam in my face. The guy coming in after me laughed at how ridiculously rude it was, even commented on it.

    I bumped into her into the locker room and she said, "Oh - I think you wanted that parking space? Didn't you" I just said, not really and walked away.

    Strange thing to ask in a locker room - no? I mean maybe you apologize or ignore it… I don't know.

    So she was rude AND weird.

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  12. Man, I thought you were gonna say Bob ditched you for Lipstick Lady!!

    My rudeness story was yesterday in Bakers Delight, I was standing, waiting, and this lady comes in after me, moves in front of me to get closer to the counter. When the assistant asked "Who's next?" she was putting up her hand and moving even closer! I stood up for myself and said "me actually". Death stares from pushy lady. Sigh.

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  13. Susan, yes that's what my post last week was all about. Beleive me I spend a lot of time doing and thinking and receiving kindness as well. But these rude people still need a kick in the butt.

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  14. Interesting timing on this post.. just yesterday I had 2 incidents as well. One involved your "Ms. Lipstick's" husband in the library. He took a call (IN THE LIBRARY) and proceeded to have an entire conversation at the top of his lungs, while the rest of the patrons gave him the stink eye. He never picked up on the death glares and finished his talk with whomever it was on the other line. 2nd incident involved our local rec center on the indoor track. We have 3 lanes on our small 10M track. It's like running on a hamster wheel but it keeps us out of the cold so we try to not bitch too much about it. Well the outside lane is for runners or people passing the multiple seniors on the track. Last evening a guy decided he wanted to have a conversation with someone on the elliptical machine while standing in the outside lane. Every time we went around the wheel he just stood there. Finally I said very loud "NOT a good place to stand" and did he get the hint? Nope he actually stuck his butt out a bit the next time we went around. It took every bit of my patience to not kick him square in it. People can be so inconsiderate these days.

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  15. I find the drivers are just insane this time of year. I get cut off or honked at (for no apparent reason) every single day on my way home from work. CALM DOWN PEOPLE.

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  16. i def seem lack of common courtsey every day and it really irritates me. folks who do not offer up their seat for children, pregnant women, or elderly on the bus (or train); people who do not say thank you when someone else holds the door open for them, people who don't hold the door for others, folks that talk on the phone in confined spaces like elevators. i could go on and on, but im getting annoyed just writing everything!

    happy holidays people! learn some manners!

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  17. Someone somewhere recently (great memory, right?) said the question people should ask in any situation is not, "What will I get out of this?" but rather, "How can I be helpful?" To that end, I always imagine the rude person is having a terrible day. She is in a bigger hurry than I am. She needs that parking space far more than me. I will always yield with my grocery cart. I will always hold the door. I like to think I'm teaching my daughter patience and kindness. And often, in my head, I say a little prayer for the rude person as well.

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  18. I dunno, I have a coworker that is polite to the point of annoyance. It doesn't matter if he's carrying an armload of boxes with a latte on top, if I try to open the door for him, he absolutely refuses to enter.

    I am young and healthy. If I get to the door first, I hold it open for the person behind me, especially if their arms are full and you have 13 kids in tow. The polite thing to do would be to go through the damed door and then let me in front of you in line. Maybe that's just me...

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  19. All the coffee places around here have signs that say something like "We will be pleased to help you after you finish your cell phone conversation." Terrible to have to point these things out to people.

    It always makes me a little sad when I take the time to stand there an extra second to make sure the door stays open for someone and they look at me like I am a circus freak and this is a new trick they've never seen before.

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  20. Well, living in China I get this kind of behavior EVERY day. Sad and really annoying, but I guess you get used to it. It is a different world, different education and mindset. People shouting instead of talking, giving you zero personal space (that bugs me especially when standing in a line in a store and a person behind me is almost ON me). Men opening door for women? have never seen this here in 7 years! Want to scream every time I get a cab and a person who is getting out slams the door looking at me KNOWING I am about to get in!

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  21. I read about someone (probably a blogger) who had decided to turn every rude encounter into a chance to spread the cheer. I applaud that...and am also NOT sure I can follow her lead (wish I could remember who the heck it was...).

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  22. Not that you have a ton of time to read everybody's blog post but check out my post from Tuesday:

    http://mamavetsspot.blogspot.com/2011/12/when-someone-gets-ugly.html

    How funny we have a similar theme going on...

    It's strange how some people have just plain lost their sense of decency. It seems worse with the upcoming generations. Teenagers and twenty-somethings seem to have a major entitlement complex (no offense, and I'm sure I sound like an old fuddy duddy). I'm making it a PRIORITY to teach my kids their manners, and respect for others around them.

    RUDENESS STINKS!!!! It's amazing how one small moment of it can set the tone for someone's entire day...

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  23. The door thing always annoys me. I am a woman and I even hold the door open for men. I had a lady let go of the door and I was close enough so that it almost smacked me in the face. So rude! Just today a lady was talking loudly on her cell phone and the words "heavy flow" were uttered. In public? Really?

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  24. I work two jobs to put my husband through Pharmacy School. One of these jobs is as a server (waitress) in an upscale restaurant. I deal with rudeness all of the time. The level of rudeness gets turned up during the holidays. People are sooooo demanding and testy!!! Also, people don't tip as well either. Do people not know that in most states servers make $2.13/hour. Jeez! I have been a server through my own college education and now sending my husband back to school (12 years total) and this happens every year during the holidays.

    The only way to combat this rudeness is to kill them with kindness and turn the other cheek. Oh and then go tell all of your fellow servers about the A$$hole at table 27. :-)

    Of course, there are also those customers that tell you that their experience at the restaurant and your service totally made their week. So I try to focus on those people and pray for the rest of them!

    You rock SUAR! Thanks for sharing your life with all of us!

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  25. Slashing tires is often effective. But even more rude. I'm a big fan of killing them with kindness. But I might be kind of mean about it. It's a tricky line to walk... nice but mean. I've been ragging too...not that it's any consolation.

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  26. Hm, I think you are being oversensitive here. Yes, it would have been nice if they had acted differently, but still it was not rude as it was. They were just not present in the moment, not in touch with other people or with themselves, not very considerate, not spiritual, very small minded... but hey, the miracle is when people are not like that. The best what we can do is being the best version of ourselves, and hoping our good vibes will be resonating in other people for a while. And be especially kind to people who seem not to deserve kindness...
    Merry December :-))

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  27. Anon: I couldn't disagree more. We need to hold ourselves and others to a higher standard of kindness and consideration. This is especially true when it comes to cell phones, road rage and general manners.

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  28. I don't often have encounters with rude people, but when I do, it really upsets me. It sticks with me all day. Once a cab driver made me cry because he was so rude and I couldn't stop thinking about it!

    I also disagree with anonymous. We shouldn't be elated when people are nice and courteous, we should expect it. I expect people to have manners and regard for others. That's just me.

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  29. Great post. I teach classes at the gym and the other day during the stretching part a girl talked LOUDLY (louder than I was, and I had a mic) to anyone and everyone around her. She never caught on that I had soft music playing, that I was speaking in a soothing voice, and that nobody around her was talking.

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  30. It's the holidays! Where is that holiday cheer?

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  31. How timely! I had one yesterday! I work with the public and one of my customers saw me out in a hallway inside the building that encases my department's office. Well, this person stops me en route to the restroom to tell me that I need to check on their account and email them about it as soon as I get back to my desk. Keep in mind this person is neither my boss or a superior. In fact, this person has no rank within our organization at all. So...I tried to be humble when saying I would...but in my head I thought what an entitled, pompous snot they were. In the end, I decided that even though I'll do what they want, I won't abandon protocol to move their request along faster than others. I guess I only get frustrated at behavior like that because it would never cross my mind to behave like that!

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  32. Yep, it's funny, this time of year there are two extremes: the cheerful holiday types and the panicked-rude holiday types. As my mom would say, "Just say an extra prayer for the rude people" :-)

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  33. What do you think about the biggest loser ending and what happened between Jessica and Ramon?

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  34. Today I was counseling a patient on the side affects of a new prescription and she walked off in the middle of the conversation without so much as a good bye.

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  35. In my eyes, lack of awareness of others IS rudeness. I teach my kids that and my second graders that. Be aware of others around you. Help those who need help. But, also, no one is perfect!

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  36. Working in the service industry, I deal with a lot of rude people. The best thing I can do is just laugh at the incident later on. Or be glad that karma exists.

    I think this rudeness is why so many people hate Christmas. I'm not going to get all religious (those are good reasons too), but if we tried to just focus a little bit more on everyone around us, this seasons would be more enjoyable. LIFE would be more enjoyable!

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  37. YEsssss! TOTALLY with you on this post! Was recently yelled at by a postal employee!!!! It shocked me so bad i just stared at her. After I left I thought of a few witty ways I wish I woulda responded to her to let her know, dude, I don't need your rudeness. I did nothing to deserve it.

    Hearing your story about the gentleman w/ the door incident made me reflect back to my pregnancy. Ppl seemed 10x more rude to me when i was like 9 months prego. Cutting in line, even in the bathroom. No excuse me, nothing! OMG. i thought i was gonna choke someone out or sit on them!!!!

    I feel uber laid back this year for Christmas. Not focusing on gifts, but the true meaning of Christmas. Haven't even got my cards out, which is a 1st in 8 yrs of marriage.

    Merry Christmas, Beth!!! hope it's wonderful:)

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  38. I'm working at the GAP for holiday help, I see rudeness on a daily basis!

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  39. Kill em with kindness...cause you know...."What goes around, comes around......."

    (if it is really that bad....call em on it, you may not make it better now, but the next time they go to be rude, they may think twice about it)

    Happy Holidays!

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  40. I don't know if its rudeness or just simple oblivious to all around.

    It's like some one said ....everyone is too caught up on what is being text, what's on there app, their iPad or iPhone, everyone needs to disconnect from the "tech" world and get back to interacting with others.

    Talking..one on one...really being interested...connecting with each others thoughts, emotions and their eyes...we need to slow down and do THAT more.

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  41. Great post and so true. I'm a commuter to financial district in downtown Toronto and walk through the underground (connecting buildings inside) to get to work....every day, for years, I'm amazed that people will open and go through a heavy door and not hold it for the person behind them....thousands of us...so you know there's someone there, they just can't be bothered. Catching a door is so much heavier then opening it by yourself...every day...I'm amazed. You think I'd get used to people being so inconsiderate.

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  42. We somehow ended up with tickets to an advance screening of the new Mission Impossible movie last night. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I can always be lured with popcorn. And for TWO HOURS, an old-enough-to-know-better child KICKED the back of my seat. And his parents did nothing, despite my turning around and staring quite often.

    After the movie, the little menace was tearing up and down the hallway. So I actually said something to the parents. And they laughed. So I said, "Someday, somebody is going to kick him back." They just stared at me.

    The Kidless Kronicles

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  43. I have to say that I feel like people in any aspect of customer service have been kinder and friendlier than usual. When out shopping, people are exceptionally cheerful (even if they're told to be by their bosses) and I know I, for one, make an extra effort to spread a little holiday cheer to the tables I wait on.

    My efforts, so far, have mostly been in vain. It seems the people I wait on are more harried and frustrated than ever, and they take it out on me when they see their bill and go, "UGH, I can't believe I have to spend MORE money to eat." Really? Cuz your life is SO hard, I'm sure. So they stiff their server on the tip so they can save a few extra bucks, not realizing the woman waiting on them has to buy Christmas gifts, too.

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  44. Never, EVER, EVER go to IKEA if self-awareness and common kindness are two things you value in humanity. I have barred myself from going there as I do not wish to end up in jail for ramming one of the Swedish-named knives in someone's rude forehead.

    However, on the positive side of things, I have noticed that men in the South would never let #2 occur. I have, twice since moving here, reached a door before a man and attempted to hold it open so that he could enter first. In the South, apparently, letting a woman hold the door open for you would be immasculating or something as BOTH times, I was greeted with: "No Maammm...you go on in," and then these gentlemen summarily opened the door for me. Gotta love Southern hospitality!

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  45. I find that less self awareness from our current 20 somethings is the worst. They are self absorbed and rude. Funny that the kids in high school now are coming about as more mature than the kids we are spitting out of college. IMO. But, I live in Montana and we are always about a decade behind the times. :-/

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  46. I agree, civility is sooo much more pleasant.

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  47. Sad but true--it seems like common courtesy is even more hard to find this time of year than others. "Please," "thank you," and "you're welcome" are not used nearly as much as they used to be; our 2 1/2 year old grandson is much better in that regard than many adults!

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  48. this has nothing to do with your post but I had to share this blog I found today. Read the post about elf on the shelf. Hysterical!

    http://peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.blogspot.com/2011/12/over-achieving-elf-on-shelf-mommies.html

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  49. I haven't had the "rudeness bug" yet but my friend did and I am going to suggest she read this post so that I can say w/ confidence that it's not her.
    I try to be nice often but sometimes I get a bit grumpy in traffic when drivers don't follow the let every other one in rule. Seriously, how hard is that?

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  50. The other day I held the door open for a lady, she went through the door without so much as a 'thanks', 'thank you', 'appeciate it', nothing. Right behind her was a small group so I just held the door open for them as well. Not one of them said anything. I felt myself burning and 'You know, I don't work here, a thanks would have been nice' came out of my mouth. Do you know what the guy in the group said? 'Next time don't hold the door open then'. Seriously? You can bet the next time that guy will be opening his own door.

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  51. I think people who need to have cell phone conversations in a loud manner are SCREAMING for attention and trying to act as if (AS IF!!!) they are somehow very important. I'm not a fan of cell phones when in the company of others anyway.

    As for the door slammed in your face - OMG! A guy did that to me last month. I was so PXXXED off, I barreled to the other end of the bar, but he followed. At that point (since I photograph EVERYTHING) I was going to take a pic of him, post it and declare I had found the biggest AXXHXXE in Utica. So rude!

    As for garage door, so glad to hear (but sincerely sorry it happened to you) that someone else tries backing the car out before the door is up as well. In my case, it was trying to multi-task - a think I should never do.
    :)

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  52. Dude may have missed out on a free cup of coffee...doesn't he read your blog?!?!!!! Seriously! ;-) then again, you could've just F bombed him in line...f as in flatulence....

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  53. People with their cellphones drive me crazy. I don't want to know their business, but the talk so loud that you can't help but hear. In airplanes, the second it touches down, out come the phones.
    I also agree with Big Daddy Diesel & the "thank you" reply I hate most is "no problem". What's up with that?

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  54. YES! And I'm not even in the US. In fact, this afternoon at the bookstore a well heeled woman completely barged in front of me while waiting in line at the cash wrap. My response...."Scusi Senora??" And she basically told me I was wrong, so I shut up.
    But to off-set her rude behavior a lovely gentleman in front of her told her SHE was wrong. She backed off completely. The entire exchange was done in Italian, making it very interesting.

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  55. Once I had a race on a Sunday. It was later in the day but rather than skip church, I went to the early service in my running gear. It was Springtime so I was in little shorts and a tank top.My hubby was meeting me later so I had my son (less than a year old at the time) and he was in his stroller; one of the giant travel type strollers and I was struggling to get us down some steps. A man and his wife passed me on the steps. They didn't offer assistance but that may not have been expected so I was OK with that.

    But when we got to the doors of the church, not only did the "gentleman" not hold the door open for us, he only opened it wide enough for he and his wife to get through and them PULLED IT CLOSED!!!

    This was one of those GIANT Southern Cali monster churches, with a school where Will Smith's, Joe Montana's and Wayne Gretsky's kids go (Seriously, look it up. They all went to the same high school, run by this church). And I know there's a Black man in the President's chair, and "Yes We Can" and all that, but this country is still screwed up in some ways and I am convinced that that was more racism than absentmindedness. He just saw this "scantily clad", presumably single Black chick with a kid trying to invade his church. He didn't know me from Adam and OBVIOUSLY didn't recognize that I was the current Junior High pastor's WIFE!!!
    Sure, I wasn't dressed properly for church but no body in Southern California dresses properly for church! I've said it a million times, I love Jesus Christ but I frequently have a problem with His "Christians".

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  56. I wish I could say that it was just due to holiday stress, this obnoxious behavior. I see it everyday and it seems to be getting worse.

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  57. I, and a couple other folks were waiting to back out of the grocery store parking spaces...we were all blocked by a woman, her car blocking not only us, but 3 empty spaces right beside her, to get a space 1 closer to the door. Really?? that 3 feet really makes it worth completely ignoring the 3 people waiting to leave, plus the cars behind you?? I shook my head, took a breath and said a prayer for her.

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