Ask any person if they consider themselves polite and well mannered and they will undoubtedly tell you that they believe that they are. They will heartily endorse their own virtues and emphatically state that they are infact most definitely polite and courteous. Although there is no doubt that there are those who may be as they say alas it seems to be that, these days at least, those persons are in a definite minority and on a steady decline.
Even the most unobservant of us cannot fail to be aware when out and about of the general lack of regard for each other as there exists in our modern world. Rarely do people hold doors for each other any more, road courtesy is deplorable and general etiquette is minimal at best. When reading of the sense of community spirit and general care for each other of bygone eras , it seems hard to equate that with the world we know today. It seems that people just really do not care for each other any more and lives have declined to the point that most cannot see past their own center of gravity.
Working for a charity as i do means that i regularly deal with the public in large numbers each day and those people with whom i come into contact you would expect to be caring and courteous. There are definitely those kindly souls who really are both things but again sadly in rather smaller than expected numbers. People, i have found, are for the most part rude, aggressive, uncaring and selfish.
Sadly it has been the experience of myself and many of my colleagues that what may be seen as ignorant disregard or general discourtesy in public is often greatly amplified when on the other end of a telephone. It seems the semi anonymous shield of it leads people to behave with much less regard than the would in a face to face situation. Despite telling myself never to be surprised by the behaviour of those faceless individuals i encounter, i nevertheless have gaped in horror at some of the aggressively rude responses i have received. People, it seems, forget to remember that we are all human too and perhaps in our place they too should be mildly affronted at being spoken to in such a way. Unfortunately they do not put themselves in our shoes since for the most part i find often people have care and empathy that barely stretches past the length of their own nose.
I expect you look horrified right now and stand ready to leap to the moralistic defence of mankind but there is no escaping the truth of the matter.With the exception of a dwindling minority people in general are mostly not very nice at all.
Sadly as i have passed through life in recent times i have witnessed behaviour towards others as to shock and sadden me deeply although i confess i really am less than surprised. Acts of road rage, abuse and profanity screamed in aggression for nothing much worse than failing to move aside for the aggressor. The fact that this person was not observing the proper rules of the road meant little for he considered himself due deference from anyone he met. Whilst instinct is to retaliate and respond in kind it does little good beyond escalating a situation already out of proportion for the imagined crime. Perhaps it lies to us to break the cycle and turn the other cheek lest we find ourselves guilty of the same.
Doors once held courteously open for whomever was following us are now mostly left to swing closed in the faces of those behind. The elderly struggle with shopping where once a helping hand would have offered to share the load. Snug and dry in their warm safe cars, drivers ignore those sodden souls shivering by the roadside hoping desperately for someone to allow them to cross. Once it would have been the norm to slow for those few seconds to help another but now it seems that arriving at your destination thirty seconds sooner is more important.
Everywhere you look you cannot help but see the growing self absorbtion that seems to come as standard in this present day existence. I wonder as i look around, which i do frequently for i am a keen people watcher, if people have just become so disenchanted with life that they forget just HOW to care. I guess it would be all too easy, on the frequent receiving end of such treatment, to become angry or bitter and vow to behave in exactly the same way yourself. Granted you may feel better for it but ultimately does it really make you feel better to be one of the many? Is it really any harder to say please and thankyou, to hold out a hand to help or just take that few extra seconds to put someone else before yourself? I have and i do and no matter the response from others i shall always try and help if i can. I have to admit it is often rather amusing to see the surprise on the face of the other person since they clearly are not used to courtesy as a norm.
Still as a sullen voice rudely tells me in no uncertain terms where to get off i sigh and wonder if perhaps it is a change that cannot be undone. Perhaps people only band together in times of great adversity and at others care little for anyone else. Perhaps it is not until you view yourself through the eyes of another that you realise just how much you are guilty of yourself. No it hurts little to put yourself out, to be less selfish and to make a little time where you insist you have none.
Because in the end it doesnt even matter. Does it?