|Posted by sean berry on January 19, 2012 at 8:30 AM|
There is one thing that has really caught my attention lately and that is the general lack of manners and respect people show one another. I have noticed that a lot of people in my town really like to bitch and complain about their lives and their jobs. I realize there are few people that genuinely love what they do, but if one more cashier tells me that she is tired from working another double I think I might scream. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind small talk: tell me about the weather, your son’s baseball game or maybe even if you have tried some of the products I am buying, but please—please—don’t tell me how shitty your life is! It’s kind of insulting to hear people complain about work when I know so many people that would be happy just to have a job, let alone one where they had to work a lot of hours.
Some people act as if working is a huge inconvenience to them and just being there is a test of their patience. I’m not being ignorant to how hard some people have it, but I think it’s rude that you decide to share with me personal information when we are not close friends and we are in a place of business. I find it very unprofessional as well when people try to gain my emotional support when I just want to buy a damn sandwich. Call me old school but I’m the type of person who is selective about whom I go airing my dirty laundry to and honestly there is a very logical reason for this type of discretion.
I have been to quite a few stores whereby the cashier or clerk has failed to make eye contact with me or in some more extreme cases even say a word to me. To me, it just makes one’s day so much harder when you go out of your way to be rude to someone. Trust me; I’ve walked that road before as I was a server for years and during a time when my patience and temperament were anything but admirable. I have also had employees in certain stores bad mouth other customers in front of me and in the back of my mind I am thinking: you don’t even know if I know that person and here you are talking some serious crap about them.
I was at the library today using the internet and an old woman gets on the computer next to me and within a few minutes she barked out loud, “I remember a time when libraries use to be quiet!” The irony of this situation is simply delicious as she is complaining about the noise yet she is the one speaking out loud. I told her simply, “things have changed…”
To this she replied darkly, “not for the better though” and if the elders of my generation lack any patience or tact than that certainly makes me scared for what the younger generations are going to be like and what do we have in store as a society in general?
I can’t sit here and act like I haven’t had my times whereby my fuse was shorter than it should be, but I generally try to be understanding of others and I realize that not everything happens right when we want it. The old woman who complained about the noise in the library went on to talk about how slow her computer was and instead of seeking help to find out the source of the slow connection, she chose to remark over and over again how long it was taking. Inside my head logic was telling me, hey lady, if you stopped the bitching and sought an answer to your question, perhaps your day would go a little better instead of you harping that the free internet you get to use is not quite up to par with your liking. If that is the worse problem someone encounters in a day, I’d say your day is going pretty freaking well.
I see people being cut off in traffic by other people who flip them off and others laying on the horn the second the light turns green, which doesn’t even give the guy at the front of the line a chance to hit the gas. A lot of our technology might be fast, but people these days still have no major upgrades in how fast they can accomplish their normal everyday tasks. It is like so many of us are just in our own world and completely blind to everyone else that inhabits the same planet. This doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional samaritan who lets the person go who’s been waiting to turn for ten minutes onto the street and the woman with a 100 grocery items letting the guy with one go ahead of her.
Now I don’t think you can out hate a hater and when I encounter people that generally see the world as full of conflict, I try to adopt an attitude of carefree acceptance. Sure it sucks when a line takes forever but what usually sucks more is hearing the many sighs of people frustrated or constant repetitive remarks declaring how a person’s time is being wasted and that they won’t be shopping at that same store again. Sometimes I believe people like to bitch because they feel it’s somehow this common link between different people ala the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Mistakes happen, people are not perfect, and it’s only a matter of time before we are all a victim of circumstance, so why as individuals do we feel the need to create an atmosphere of negativity and unhappiness?
If it angers you to have to wait for a seat at a restaurant, remind yourself of the fact that you get to eat there and that if it is busy, it’s probably because it’s popular and a bunch of other people had the same idea as you. Negativity can grow exponentially and when we give into it, we strengthen the beast. This is not to say that there aren’t genuine reasons for complaining about something and if someone is doing something wrong, there is certainly nothing wrong with letting someone know. I guess the lesson here is to exercise some discretion when it comes to what battles we choose to fight mentally and we must also weigh the effectiveness of our complaints and who we choose to voice them to, as bitching to the guy behind you that the line is slow is not likely to help your situation. The simple fact is that the world just can’t run correctly for everyone at the same time and the sooner we realize this, the sooner the wait will be over for whatever it is that is causing us to be impatient. Also, we must see that the things we criticize others for have been things we’ve been criticized for in the past ourselves.
You can lead by example in this world and handle yourself with grace or you can choose to be bothered by everything and look at every moment in your life as a soap box speech for self pity. No one is really any better than anyone else and the cashier at McDonalds deserves your respect just as much as the president of your local bank. We all play our part and how smooth this machine of society runs with all the different cogs it has contained within. So in closing, if you only have a few minutes to share something with someone, make it something worthwhile or meaningful, not some spiel that you are exhausted from having to work or that you are tired of dealing with stupid customers. I don’t want to hear about your problems and let your issues be like that of a blog: if people want to know about them, they’ll investigate further, otherwise, they are free to click around as they like!