Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is Courtesy Dead, or Extinct?

I was waiting for a cab, when a middle aged lady descended with her mother-in-law and two grown children. In the commotion of acting extremely harried, she didn't even notice that she had dropped her sunglasses. I picked the glasses up and handed them to her. "Thanks", her mumble was barely audible.Five minutes later, a cab drew up. Even before I could move, she opened the door and got in.

I wasn't in a hurry, so didn't create a scene. But, I wonder if she even realised what she had done. Would a gesture of courtesy have killed her?

A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.
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Mary said...

Courtesy isn't dead but it is very rare anymore. It seems around here the 15-25 age group is the most courteous. 30- to almost 50 think they own the world and everything in --including the people.
Hope you weren't too inconvenienced.

Theresa Milstein said...

There are too many people like that. But we have to keep being courteous because it keeps civilization somewhat civilized.

I took my Literacy Builder Award and thanked you on my post:

Anu said...

Its a pity, but its true that people are so busy and so occupied that they probably dont even realize that they are discourteous! and what timing! There is an article in today's Crest about chivalry and whether it is dead or not!

Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - You make such an eloquent point about courtesy. Sometimes I think today's world puts such an emphasis on rushing here or there and running around that we don't think about those little gestures that can mean so much. I wonder if it is the pressure of being expected to do so much that stresses people. That much pressure can make a person have what I call tunnel vision - the inability or unwillingness to really notice what is going on around him or her.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sadly, I don't think most people even realize they are being discourteous because they are so focused on themselves.

Mason Canyon said...

I agree with Alex. I think we've just become so focused on ourselves and what all we have going on that we don't really think of the other person. It's sad.

Thoughts in Progress

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Mary- I never really thought of it that way, but yes, even here, I find the 15-25 age group most helpful. And, no, I wasn't inconvenienced too much- had I been, I would have insisted I got there before her.

@ Theresa- precisely. And so many people were so nice to me when my kids were really young, I can spend a lifetime repaying that.

@ Anu- I am sure she never even thought of it. Like Margot says, tunnel vision.

@ Margot- you put it so eloquently. Tunnel vision is what it is- you are so focussed on yourself, you don't see anything else except in relation to yourself.

@ Alex/ Mason- I am sure she didn't relise it. strangely, and sadly, we have become so immune to it that I didn't even notice that she had grabbed my cab till the friend I was with pointed it out to me. Which is really the saddest part of it- that I do not expect better.

Jemi Fraser said...

I hope it's not! There's nothing more important than kindness. I think some people are so preoccupied with their busy lives they notice less. Sad.

Anonymous said...

That is the kind of subtle rudeness that irks me the most. It's not so obscene that you can make a big deal out of it, but it's got just enough passive aggressive in it that you are left thinking, "Wait, did that really just happen?" - G
PS. Thanks for letting me know what a drabble is. I think I will give it a go and when I do. I'll link back, of course. - G

Dyche Designs said...

I often experience days like that . . . I try not to let it get me down but every once in a while I'm left speechless by the rudeness of others.

Christina Bunton said...

Working in fast food you really see how self absorbed and discourteous people can be. People who say things like "Get me this" or "Give me this" really bug me. Is it really too hard to say 'Please'? Or thankyou? it is sad when a small child saying thankyou for their meal actually makes me smile.

Some people need to rethink how they interact with others, tunnel vision is fine on occasion but there is a bigger picture out there...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hope she felt guilty, especially after you were nice enough to rescue her glasses.

Marjorie said...

She should have let you get in the cab, but perhaps she thought "thank you" was enough. Which is why I sometimes think that courtesy is dead. At other times I am pleasantly surprised.

Clarissa Draper said...

I see dis-courtesy the most when driving. I'm one of those really slow drivers, not because I'm scared of driving fast but because I'm never in a hurry and enjoy the act of driving. So, I'm always waving people in front of me (to the irritation of other drivers). I don't see that driving fast and weaving in and out of traffic really gets people to their destination faster.


Holly Ruggiero said...

I hope it’s just on holiday and will come back soon.

Lance said...

There is so much in our lives to be thankful for - like this caring act you did. And how long does it really take to show that gratitude? Really...what's it take? A few seconds.

Keep being you...and know that you truly are a gift in this world...

Patricia Stoltey said...

For some unknown reason, I've been finding folks more courteous these days, rather than less. I was struggling with a bag of books after a book sale, and a very young man stopped what he was doing to help me. I've had more doors opened for me by men and women of all ages. I'm not sure what's happening, but I love it.

Deb and Barbara said...

Ah, but sheer joy of experiencing that unexpected courtesy when you least expect it. That almost makes up for me all the self-absorbed hooligans.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jemi- I would hope not too, but sometimes, I do wonder.

@ Georgina- precisely. Had she been downright rude or aggressive, I could have hit back in kind,but this is just too small to make a point over. Which is why she does it- because she knows she always gets away with it.
And have fun with your drabbles.

@ Katheryn- I guess we are getting immune to it, but that is sad too, isn't it?

@ Christina- that is really sad. And if the children and youth are being courteous, and not the older people, it is actually even sadder than otherwise.
And thank you for dropping by

@ Diane- wonder if she even knows she did it- it was just second nature to her.

@ Marjorie- if that was a thank you!!!! I saw her lips move, but barely heard it. But I heard her speaking to her family all right.

@ Clarissa- that really gets me too- inconsiderate drivers.

@ Holly- I do too.

@ Lance- those small acts of kindness mean so much to me- it took me less than 10 seconds to pick up her glasses, but she would have spent hours looking for it and lots of money replacing it. When someone does a similar kindness to me, I am on a high for a few hours doling out smiles and kindnesses to anyone I can see. What really irks me is that she didn't even acknowledge it much less pass it on. Thanks for stopping by.

@ Patricia- you give me hope. I know there are kind people around- because when I needed it, I had kindness shown to me from very unexpected sources. But this kind of indifference comes as a bolt from the blue.

@ Barbara- of course it does. And more. And a lot of it does happen too- am blogging about one of those this week.

slommler said...

Are we all moving so fast that we can't even pause and say thanks?! I sadly think so. But I will not be dissuaded!! I will keep showing courtesy and hope!! If some of us keep just might start a bonfire!!!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ SueAnn- as far as I am concerned, I had so much unexpected kindness shown to me when I was a mother with two tiny kids, that I can spend a lifetime paying that back. And I will.


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