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.