Is it because I am getting older and maybe more crotchety that it seems that many people do not seem to have good manners around their fellow man?
I remember when I was a child I was not supposed to speak when adults were talking and certainly not allowed to interrupt a conversation. At school the same good manners were demanded and, because English children of my generation always had school provided hot lunches, table manners were also strictly enforced. There was no such thing as finger food unless it was a sandwich, everything else was cut into small pieces and eaten with a knife and fork, no talking with your mouth full and knife and fork left in the five o’clock position, not just sprawled across the plate when you had finished. Men’s hats were always removed indoors, especially at the table, even now when I see a baseball cap, worn backwards while it’s wearer eats, I have to force myself not to knock it off into his dinner.
Children in England paid a half fair for the bus until they left school, then it went to adult price, however it was instilled in me and my peers that we always gave up our seat for an older person. If you were travelling alone and thought you could ignore the rule, because there was no parent to give you the eyeball, there was always some other adult who would jab you in the ribs and remind you. Try that nowadays and you would receive a mouthful of colourful, verbal abuse.
Not only do parents not ask their child to give up their seats for a senior but completely ignore their child standing on the seat, climbing over other people’s feet, dropping food all over the furniture and other people and making lots of noise. The attitude seems to be that “my child has every right to be here and behave exactly as he likes, if you don’t like it, then move”.
It is not just the younger generation that is lacking in manners in fact many of them are courteous and helpful. Many older people also seem to have forgotten that they do not live alone but share the planet with many other people who are just as deserving of respect as themselves.
I don’t know if it is just me but I seem to quite often walk in the opposite direction of two or three people chatting together and insist on keeping to the grouping, even if it means that I have to step into the street, to get by. This is rude and not just happened on one occasion but is a common occurrence.
How often has someone bumped into me and not had the courtesy to apologise, I am a large person, surely you see me right in front of you. The same attitude goes for reaching in front of another person to grab the cauliflower or tomatoes you want, if you wait a couple of seconds I will be gone and you will have your pick of the whole section.
This behaviour seems to reach into driving habits as well, so many people think it is just fine to overtake in a dangerous place and then, swiftly cut in front of the car they have passed, causing that driver to hit the breaks. It doesn’t seem that long ago that people gave you a small wave, or a nod, when you gave them the right of way, now it seems you get the finger if you don’t.
As a pedestrian, I feel we should acknowledge, with a smile or a nod, the driver who stops to allow us to cross, however when I lived in Port Coquitlam we had an old gentleman who went a bit too far. If you stopped to let him cross the road, he would take a few steps then turn toward your car, remove his hat and politely bow. He did this to every car spread across the four lanes of traffic and really got on every driver’s nerves. I must admit, several times I felt like just running him over, sometimes kind thoughts and courteous behaviour just goes out the window.