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Manners a lost art in the modern world

I’m going to be blunt: where did that thing we used to call “manners” go? Maybe it’s the large coffee I just downed in attempt to finish my online exam before it’s due date, not the fact I just got chewed out by a random stranger on social media for no reason that has me shaking. I’d like to think the first; everyone knows we don’t need any more stress on our little college kid hearts. What ever happened to the professional working relationship, or even just being polite?

It started with a pair of traditional college girl brown leather boots that fell into disrepair.  And by disrepair I mean I could no longer superglue the outside sole on without it falling off. In an effort to downsize I decided to sell a few items of greater worth on Facebook to try to make a little money to replace my beloved boots.

Shortly thereafter, I was informed by a young lady that I was petty, ignorant and awful with people. Simply because I refused to drive to her, who was out of my range, for her six dollars worth of used merchandise. That she also proceeded to insult the merchandise she chose. I sincerely hope I am not the only one who is confused.

Maybe it was my upbringing, but working with the public, one sees this rudeness more and more — and I flinch every time I see it happen. I’ve been screeched at because the restaurant I work at raised the price of their breakfasts this summer because of the price hike on eggs. A thing I have no control over.

When they nicknamed this generation the “I” generation, they weren’t kidding. If it doesn’t serve the individual, it’s wrong, immoral, selfish, discriminating — I could go on and on.

I don’t understand how it’s happened either. If you look at the generations before us and that genuine gene just stops abruptly. There is no in between. I suppose you could blame the parents, the decade, our environment or one of my all time favorites — the media — but that’s another issue. We have to stop the blame. Enough with the pointing fingers. Trying to find the cause, trying to name it, is just playing along with that not-so-fun little game. It’s as though the moment something goes wrong, the pleases and thank yous leave, and along come the profanity and name calling. It’s my way or the highway. Not what I have, but what you are lacking.

Perhaps we’re so busy with our own lives, we forget about others. I do it. I get mad at the barista who has a line out the door but can’t get my coffee fast enough. But let’s face it, with 7 billion plus people on the planet, we probably should be thinking about others once in awhile. Everyone has a story, you might just not be able to read it.

Maybe it’s not a matter of manners, as much as a matter of maturity. The maturity to take the blame, to accept what is and what cannot be. Then to just try to understand the other position. It’s hard to do. I’m not saying I am innocent either — I have done my share of finger pointing. And it’s an innate human response to get defensive when one feels threatened. But why are we threatened? Especially over such trivial things. If I bring you shrimp after you’ve told me you have a deadly shrimp allergy, you have every right to ream me out as far as I’m concerned. But when it’s because I didn’t bring your refill at the drop of a pin, I don’t think it’s quite the response that is appropriate to the situation.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go attempt to superglue my boots.

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