bigjohn

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It ain’t just the young.

Posted by Big John on December 2, 2008

A recent survey has found that people in this country are getting more rude because of increasingly hectic lifestyles.

Well around here, in ‘bungalowland’, most of the miserable old sods lead anything but a ‘hectic lifestyle’, but are probably some of the rudest and inconsiderate buggers you could ever never wish to meet.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve held a door open for some old couple, only to be ignored as they brushed past me, or moved my trolley (cart) aside in the supermarket to let some old dear along the aisle, and never received a nod of acknowledgment. In fact you are more likely to receive a grunt or a moaning mumble than a smile and a “thank you”.

I know that the words .. “Please” and “Thank you” .. are fast disappearing from the vocabulary of the young, but it surprises me that so many of the older generation seem to have lost their ‘manners’. Blimey ! I came from a time when you raised your hat to a lady, stood up if one entered the room, and always gave up your seat to her on the bus. Now they have to put notices on buses requesting people to let the elderly and disabled have their seats, and there’s as much chance of that happening as some oblivious old geezer removing his baseball cap for a passing funeral.

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone say .. “Excuse me, please” .. or .. “I beg your pardon”. Now you are more likely to get a push in the back, or even an elbow in the ribs from some ‘Hell’s granny’ who thinks that you don’t need to queue once you have been given a free bus pass; and don’t expect any ‘pensionista’ to be polite in the post office on their very own ‘special day’ of the week.

‘Manners’ ? .. It’s about respect for others, which you would expect older people to understand, but a number seem to have joined the ‘me’ generation, and have sadly forgotten the words of William of Wykeham who said that …

…  “Manners maketh man”.

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3 Responses to “It ain’t just the young.”

  1. Betty said

    It’s the same way here. And the language!! I have been known to utter a mild oath or two when provoked, but the way people throw that “F” word around, you’d think it was perfectly proper. Guess I’m just old=fashioned. (sigh)

  2. Maria said

    I think it helps living in a small town. We seem to be living at a slower pace and it helps. Now this is not always true and I agree that the manners of the old days are long gone. Maybe all of us older folks need to take a walk down memory lane and start emphasizing good manners. Maybe, just maybe, it will catch on. Who knows. . . stranger things have happened. Now I must get back to my glass of wine which is nearly gone. LOL

  3. I think there are two different – though related – issues here.

    Firstly, there is consideration, being thoughtful and helpful to others. This is what makes you move your supermarket trolley so that people can get past or give up your seat on the bus to an elderly person.

    Secondly, there is ritual behaviour, called “politeness” or “manners”, which is what makes you smile and say good morning to a colleague, raise your hat to a lady, thank the shop assistant, etc.

    Consideration is the same thing all over the world. Whether you are in Athens, New York or Beijing, if you didn’t give up your seat to an elderly person, you would (and ought to) feel guilty.

    Manners, on the other hand, are different everywhere you go. For example, when I was a youngster living “dahn sarf”, if someone offered you a cup of tea, you refused, they insisted, and you eventually accepted on the 3rd or 4th offer. “Oop north”, I was offered tea and politely refused and that was it: it didn’t get my tea. Were Northerners “rude”? No, they just had different manners and I got used to it.

    In Britain, manners have certainly changed since WWII. Old-fashioned “manners” have all but died out. For example, a shop assistant serves you without a word, much less thanks, not because he is “rude” but because he has not been trained to do it any other way. Then again, don’t we find the American “You’re welcome” and “Have a nice day” rather irritating?

    In my book, people are “rude” only if there is a conscious intention to insult, annoy or hurt. There’s plenty of that about, of course, but then, there always was.

    A less effusive style makes a better fit with today’s hurried lifestyle, perhaps, but either way, as Canute knew, you cannot turn back the tide. The good side of this is that when you do meet people who have time to spend with you and the nous to entertain you with amenable conversation, the pleasure is doubled.

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