In the end

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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?

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The Lost Art of Propriety

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Propriety. Little known a word today yet cast yourself back a mere century and you would find yourself in a time considered the epitome of propriety. In a time when ones image and behaviour were the most important factors of all, attitudes toward other people were courteous and respectful regardless of who they were. It was considered the height of bad manners to be seen conducting yourself in anything but a decorous manner and regardless of your personal feelings towards another individual you were expected to maintain this nevertheless. Of course a class  divide did exist and those of higher station were not expected to treat those below them with equality but nonetheless there remained a standard of conducting oneself regardless.

Forward again to the present time and alas the situation is very much different. Manners seem to be very much a dying practice and people in general rarely care nor heed whether their treatment of others is courteous or respectful. One would imagine in today’s society that this would be simply the evolution of the lower classes and indeed i have heard comment before that nothing better can be expected from the poor. Strangely though it has been my experience that it is not these people who are perhaps those most guilty but those more successful and affluent individuals in this modern day world of ours. Indeed i myself have been witness to a growing rudeness and supercilious dismissal of others that exists within the business classes and it becomes more obvious the higher up the ladder of success one has climbed. Perhaps there exists some unwritten rule that should you gain success of any kind this no longer puts you in the category of having to maintain a respectful manner towards others.

Admittedly our lives are so much more consumed with our careers than perhaps in any previous era and there can be no doubt that on the whole we are busier than ever before. But have we really become so self absorbed nowadays that we care little about others nor about our attitudes towards them?

Does success really make you so much better than anyone else that simple manners and pleasant manner are so far beneath you?

From recent experience it seems so and i have, on more than one occasion recently, stared aghast at some rude quickly dashed missive designed not to consider the feelings of the recipient and indeed leave them feeling curtly dismissed and slighted. Perhaps it says more about those in receipt of such ill treatment that they in turn do not respond in kind as one could argue would be justified. Whatever the reason it seems the population of today would do as well to look to their ancestors and perhaps learn a lesson or two in etiquette.

Measuring your success by how high up the ladder you have climbed may seem to many to be the way of today. But if the only respect and admiration you have is from your peers of similar ilk then perhaps you may not be quite as successful as you may believe. Courtesy and manners cost nothing and there are many that seem to have forgotten that every ladder has a bottom rung and they were once standing upon it.

Please. Thankyou. Such simple words yet amazingly profound when used correctly.

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Distinct Lack of Manners

Well for those of you who don’t know Dear Daughter number 1 is getting married in march. Yes oh boy do i feel old as this in effect makes me mother of the bride, an image that conjures up middle aged woman in mauve two piece skirt suits and fussy hats. I definitely do not feel old enough to be mother of anything let alone mother of the bride and you most certainly will not see me dressed in such a way at the altar!!

Mostly the wedding is fine, all is plodding along nicely until Dear Daughter begins to enlighten me about her soon to be relations who are apparently of the super religious variety. Now don’t get me wrong i have no objection to this and stoutly believe that each to their own and nobody should be subject to derision or prejudice pertaining to their beliefs. What i do object to however are those who forcefully impose their beliefs on others and potential relative being a rather effusive American preacher seems to have a tendency to do just that. 

Even for this i can make allowances for just one day as long as this does not interfere with the choices of the bride and groom whose wedding it happens to be however, judging from dear daughters accounts, the wife of said minister cares little for this, being a dominant controlling character. I could sense Dear Daughters annoyance as, having pre-warned by soon to be mother in law that this woman will try and control the wedding and have things to HER own liking, she related events to me. So this lady first expresses annoyance that their engagement was announced to friends and distant family via facebook (their choice) and that this lady did not receive a personal written notification. My eyebrows raised at this but i remained silent as the tale continued with this lady insistently pushing towards her husband performing the marriage ceremony. 

Now Dear Daughter and Almost Son in Law are getting married in church and seemed to favour a traditional church service held locally and performed by the local vicar but it seems this lady thinks differently and continues to forcefully push her point, regardless of the wishes of the couple. Now my hackles raised slightly at this for this woman is nothing to do with my daughter, has never met her and ultimately will only be an aunt by marriage at the end of it. I do not like pushy people and nobody is going to decide MY daughters wedding except for her Fiance and herself and already the lines of battle are drawn as i am not a person to rile when it comes to those i love.  

As dear daughter continued to inform me of Almost Mother In Laws warnings that soon to be relation would seek to criticise and reorganise every part of the day i had already decided I shall not take to this woman at all. So it was with no surprise that I logged onto Facebook today and clicked on a photograph my daughter had been tagged in by this woman. Now my daughter was not actually IN this picture and was infact a photograph of the preacher but nonetheless she had been tagged to bring it to her attention with the caption underneath stating

He can still do the wedding you know’

Oh Lady carry on for you and i are set to do battle and believe me you shall not win! Perhaps your lord should have seen fit to teach you some manners and decorum for it really is not the done thing to impose your will upon others. Yes hackles are firmly raised and although i shall be very polite and respectful you can be sure that the lady in question will not be gaining the forceful control she seems to be so desirous of.

Sorry dear this time you have met your match!!

Perhaps i should feel mean but i dont!!

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Evening is rolling in and i’m sitting trying to study, my stomach is growling to be fed but im determined to finish this section before i set my work aside. Perhaps it is a heavy workload but i am studying Business and Admin and also taking a Proof Reading and Editorial course, the latter of which occupies my attention and is rather complicated. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!

This is my front door knocker being hammered against the door with force enough to make it shake upon its hinges. I do not need to answer the door to know who it is for i can hear a very loud bullmoose voice bellowing outside but i am busy working so i choose not to answer. 

”There’s nobody in”

Footsteps fade and i sigh and continue my work and have read no more than five lines when..

BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!!!

The bullmoose voice is back and is nothing if not persistent. My eyebrows raise as i hear the letter box open and the voice, louder now as the person looks through my letter box to see if i am home. GO AWAY!! i think furiously, although conscience niggles that perhaps i am being mean. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG (door kick) BANG BANG

Yes you can bet for sure i am rather annoyed now as i reread the same sentence for the third time. So who is hammering so furiously upon my door? Ah well this is easy it is the child next door.

At first i would always answer when this child kicked his ball over my back fence for i have children and my own when small have mistakenly kicked their ball into a neighbours garden before now. Rather differently i would never let them knock on the door to ask for it back but instead told them that if they had been careless enough to let it go over then they would have to wait until the person chose to throw it back , if they even did. 

But nevertheless i would at first answer to this child and obligingly retrieve the ball from my garden which received neither apology nor thanks. Shortly after the ball would come sailing back over the fence and the hammering on the door would commence with a loud request to get the ball back. This child does not have a volume switch, actually he does but it consists of loud and very loud and of an evening i have to close my door and windows in order to hear my tv but i try and remind myself that he is after all a child.

After repeated retrievings of the ball i began to get rather fed up especially since my garden has been very waterlogged for some weeks now and sploshing around in it for a ball is not my idea of fun and i politely asked him not to kick it over and informed him that if he did it would have to stay there until i went outside for something. 

BANG BANG BANG BANG KICK KICK BANG (letterbox opens again)

I know, i know perhaps the easy way would be to go and fetch the ball and thereby cease the kicking and hammering at my door but irritation is prompting me to throw the door wide and bellow ‘ STOP kicking that bl@@dy door’   I may think it but i would not do this and i try my best to ignore it. Footsteps fade again and the child takes up residence upon my driveway with friend in tow kicking another football back and forth thumping it repeatedly against my garage door and house wall. Sometimes i wish i were not so nice natured for i should dearly love to shout as neighbours would have had i behaved so when small and rightly so. 

After six attempts to hammer my door down coupled with frequent peering through my letter box there is finally silence as it seems for now at least he has given up. Of course i will return the ball when i or one of the family does go outside i am not so mean as all that but if i should feel guilty for not answering my door and fetching it when he wished then i’m afraid i do not. I was always taught manners and respect cost nothing even from a very young age and had i hammered on our neighbours doors in that way when i was small you can guarantee i would have felt my mothers hand and further been hauled next door to apologise. 

So do i feel mean?? NO!! 

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