August 16, 2009

Lack of Violence is dooming polite society.

The other day there was a couple of ladies talking in the supermarket. They had effectively blocked the aisle with their carts and seemed oblivious to the various people who would look at them puzzled then turn away annoyed and sauntering away.

As I was in no hurry, I politely waited with hands on the shopping cart never making eye contact or glaring, in fact I started humming a little ditty quietly to myself as I noted the passing of time. It took them ten minutes before they noticed my polite waiting and another two minutes to finish up the conversation before heading the separate directions. One of them glared at me and made a passing comment about being rude. To which I politely did not burst into laughter.

In this dynamic you had various degrees of society tolerance for behavior. No one mentioned that the two were not unlike bovines in the ability to clog the lane. No one tapped them on the shoulder to indicate the faux paux of common courtesy. Instead they opted for the path of least resistance, or the path of no confrontation. To my credit I did address the issue with a stance of passive resistance. Somewhere Gandhi would be proud.

As I sat there politely waiting for some sense of human compassion to flicker forth like a small moth killing ember, my mind was on a very different tract. Mostly entertaining visions of rudeness that was all too unkind. Further, a flash of fantasy where I had become the hero of the coffee row, tossing verbal insults and freeing the hapless consumers from this obstruction most fowl (pun intended).

It comes to mind that we exist in a community with rules called common courtesy. At times this is not common at all. In fact it is now common courtesy to throw a blind eye or ignore a fragrant disregard for our fellow humans. I was wondering why.

What mechanism is off kilter that allows for this sort of bad behavior?

Violence... A lack of violence in our society.


Tina said...

There was a student at school who would cry and whine at absolutely nothing. A good, swift smack, and all would be fine. She is using the current system of 'hands off' to get away with any kind of behavior that allows her to not do what she is asked to do. They have tried to label her autistic, but that's wrong.

She's spoiled. That's all.

Lee said...

Then you need to keep her in a fridge...

shoo said...

Yep, The Badger had the right solution to that kind of behavior.

Stella by Starlight said...

Hi, Lee. My solution to this problem is a robust, "Excuse me." It always works. People are increasingly preoccupied with themselves because of electronic gadgets.

One of my biggest annoyances is the lack of common courtesy. Living in a large city, I often experience the joys of almost getting run over when I cross the street.

Great post. Your manners are laudable.

keeka said...

I do the same. For some reason, however, "excuse me" has become almost an afterthought of rude behavior. For example in my blog I wrote that at the aquarium, a boy shoved Cole out of the way, when I asked Cole why he let him take his spot, he said, "well, he said 'excuse me'". Sometimes those words somehow ring hollow. When I am at the grocery store in the aforementioned situation, I tend to say it as politely as I can with a smile. People will either #1 apologize and move or #2 glare and move. I don't really mind either way as long as they MOVE. I guess that is the Disney Cast Member in me. I am permenantly polite.

Tina said...

Shoo that made me laugh...

Fill the check out BEFORE you reach the register!!!

Our kids don't even know what that's about now - it's all debit cards :)