Sunday, November 7, 2010

Have we become so nasty?

A couple days ago I heard a story on NPR about how our society does not say 'please' and 'thank you' as it did 30 years ago. After traveling last week, I thought this was an interesting and accurate observation so I did a google search for the article.

When I searched 'NPR....manners...2010..' all I could find was the story about Juan Williams being fired due to what he said on Fox News.

I laughed....apparently we all have to work on our manners.

Today I read an article in the paper about Representative Bart Stupak. He is a Michigan rep who served nine terms in Congress but chose not to run this year because Washington D.C. is 'so hateful now'. This was after he was called a "baby killer" on the House floor.

'Baby Killer'....by another colleague....apparently the nastier your comments, the more national attention you receive.

Have we become this inappropriate? Where are the boundaries for decency?

Traveling for business is funny business. It has the tendency to be the world of eye rolls, deep sighs, concerns about upgrades.....how will this journey be of least inconvenience to me? I used to be one of those people....wrestling for overhead luggage space....but now it doesn't really seem as important as it used to. Ironically, four hours in the back of the airplane is doable compared to four hours in the emergency room with a seizing child.

On my flight home, I sat next to a man who was quite upset that there was nothing to 'snack on'.

"It's a four hour flight," he said. "You have nothing? No pretzels? No chips?"

"I'm sorry sir," said the flight attendant. "You can purchase a snack box for $5 but that's all we have."

"Ridiculous....this is f*&*ing ridiculous." He replied and flopped back in his seat.

"Sir," I said to my vocal neighbor, "I have a bag of cashews. Would you like some?"

He smiled sheepishly. "Thank you," he said, "I'm just so hungry," and helped himself to a handful of nuts.

I tried not to focus on if he had washed his hands before fondling my cashews.

Now, I am not a saint....nor am I a calm person. I can be spittier than a tomcat if pushed but I think we have become a world so focused on making out point, on being right, on proving the other wrong....Yes dear sir, you're right... it is ridiculous that there are no snacks on a four hour flight....but is it worth an f-bomb at the flight attendant?

The end of the article about Representative Stupak stated that it didn't matter if you agreed or disagreed with his voting record, this nastiness in our nation's capital is no good for America. Based on my cashew experience....I think I agree.

So I am making a vow....I vow to think before I speak, to please and thank you, reserve my eye rolling to a minimum and to not engage in this ugly tone of our national conversation.

You may hold me to it.

I will also carry a bag of cashews and a bottle of Purel on all further flights.

7 comments:

Amanda said...

Purell??? Ha, love it, and totally love the dude who did not run again. Take that political reformist, try to be nice and do something GOOD and POSITIVE for a change. Glad you had a nice trip, ready for some adult beverages soon. Go, Heather!

Deana said...

I think purell should be on every arm rest on airplanes! I look like a loon when I whip out my clorox wipes and start wiping down the arm rests and seat when I fly. ;)


I'm with Amanda...glad you had a good trip. We'll have to talk about a time to tag along! Please AND Thank you. ;)

Elizabeth said...

I think it's all about perspective actually. I think there's always been incredible rudeness in politics, but now we hear about it 24-7. What I wish there were more of was honesty and calling it like it is and less "politics" and "bull@#@#@."

Great post, as always.

Terena said...

it seems that everyone is especially stressed out right now. I've noticed an increase in rudeness, too. The other day a man on the Muni yelled at me for not getting on the train fast enough. I was waiting for several people to exit before getting on, but I guess he wanted me to shove my way through. I ignored him. Why engage with a man who is so obviously angry?

I think you're right. It doesn't help when the news reports every rude comment our politicians make. The more extreme, the bigger the coverage.

We are one angry, stressed out, terrified nation right now.

ferfischer said...

I couldn't agree more - a little kindness goes a long way, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

A smile, a thank you or a yes, please certainly can go a long way with people these days. So few people take time to just be "nice".

Just remember the wipes for the tray table and arm rests. They NEVER get cleaned on planes and I know people who have changed their baby's diaper on the tray table.

Mom

Hilje said...

I would like to join you in your vow. Acutally, I have already been trying for a while and have been discourged to notice how often I break my vow. On days that I do manage to stay close to these intentions, it is actaully I who feels more relaxed and at peace.
Thanks for your thoughts and your humor.