Off the Press

April 17, 2012

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Kathleen Merrill Press managing editor

It seems to me that fewer people on the planet have learned anything about manners these days. Or maybe they just aren’t using them.

I was at Amante restaurant downtown recently to catch the awesome band Creme Tangerine. There was a group of people who were having a private party and they would not sit down. Now this wouldn’t have been a problem except they made up a huge wall between the band and the rest of the people in the restaurant, who came to see the band.

In fact, they were so rude that they wouldn’t even sit down after the lead singer of the band politely asked them to. (And I won’t repeat what some of them shouted back. This is a family newspaper, after all.)

And no, for the most part, until right near the end, these people weren’t dancing and having a good time. They were talking, drinking and sometimes swearing. Loudly.

Yes, I do understand why they would want to come out on whatever occasion they were celebrating and have a good time. Yes, I do understand why the owners of the restaurant wouldn’t say no to good money (there were a lot of people in this party) in this economy. But since when did people just decide to put themselves first and be rude to everyone else while they’re doing it?

And it wasn’t just there. I’ve been to a few other concerts recently and since when did people not clap when a song is over? Are you kidding me?

How about being rude while driving? People get in their cars and trucks and minivans and SUVs and act like they are the only people on the planet. They eat, drink, shave, put on makeup, talk on the phone and pay no attention to the road or other drivers.

Hey, you’re piloting thousands of pounds of glass and steel and other materials that can KILL people! How about slowing down a little and paying attention? How about letting that guy or gal in? How about stopping for that person waiting to cross the street?

How about not blocking that parking space, especially when you just saw that person get in, start the car and turn on the lights to pull out? (And sorry, you making a face and purposefully looking in the other direction doesn’t negate the fact that you’re being an imbecile.)

How about holding a door for someone else once in a while? Would it hurt you to wait a few seconds for the person you see coming instead of letting the door shut right in his or her face? (Again, pretending you don’t see the person when he or she knows you did doesn’t excuse you acting like a jerk.)

It seems far too many people have an every-man-for-himself attitude these days. I know times are tough, but now is when everyone could use a little kindness.

Young people should give up their seat on a bus to someone who is older and who needs to sit down. Holding a door for a few seconds can make someone else’s day. (And karma will make sure you get what’s coming to you, good and bad.)

And driving more carefully isn’t just nice. The life you save, or lose, could be your own.

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