Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going to be honest with yourself and those around you, you’d admit that you hate people too. With the loss of common sense, politeness, and consideration by most, how could you not? It seems that “kindness to others” has been placed on a shelf next to the good china to be taken out and “used” only on special occasions. Let’s face it, people wander through life taking care of their daily business oblivious to those around them unless of course they may somehow be affected by an encounter with another.
I can see that you don’t believe me. You are either not paying attention, which launches you right into the middle of the oblivious, or you are surrounded by a much better breed of people than I. Since I don’t know your situation, I can only share a few of my daily experiences so you don’t think I’m lying.
Often times my daily chores take me to the grocery store. Honest to goodness, I have never asked anyone to allow me to go in front of them, but somehow my time is rarely considered as valuable as the person behind me. On one particular day, I was in line in, my cart moderately full. I had been waiting my turn patiently for about ten minutes when I was approached from behind by a lady (I use that term loosely).
“‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me lady…let me go in front of you. I have only this, I’m in a hurry.”
Granted, she was polite, she did say “‘Scuse me” as she held up her item. I was annoyed. Aren’t patrons like her the reason there are lines for those with “15 items or less”? As I said, I had been waiting my turn and had other things I needed to do. Reluctantly, I allowed the woman with the one item to go in front of me. As she maneuvered past me, she looked back, waving her hand yelling, “Over here!” I turned to look in the same direction as the lady who had just moved to the front of the line, in front of me. With G-d as my witness, I was nearly knocked down by another woman barreling towards me with a grocery cart so full the wheels were about to click off.
As this woman pushed past me running over my toes, she looked over her shoulder and spat out “Watch it lady, I’m with her….” In that one quick minute, these two women accomplished a feat those who know me thought impossible: they made me speechless. I think I was in shock until after the checker began ringing their order, and then it was too late. With my jaw still hanging open ten minutes later when my order was finally being checked, I was asked if I required medical attention or perhaps a chair on which to sit since I didn’t look well.
Still don’t believe me? Okay, let’s go to the movies. If you want to see a movie without the probability of being hit in the head with flying objects, it is suggested that adults go to evening movies. It’s a great suggestion, even if you take into account that the person in front of you may be hard of hearing, and his partner may repeat the entire dialogue of the movie at the top of her lungs, don’t you think? (Yes, it really happened!) Probably less noise, chances of crying infants should be way down, flying objects should not be a worry. Huh, ya think? My girlfriend and I one day decided to take in a “chick flick” choosing an evening show. It was a seven o’clock movie; we figured that would work.
We bought our tickets, loaded up on the popcorn and drinks, and in we went to a half filled theater. Perfect.
We picked our seats and settled in for a hopefully enjoyable two hours. No sooner than the lights dimmed and the previews started, a phone rang. At first I thought it was one of those clever movie commercials reminding viewers to be polite and turn off their phones. Unfortunately, I was wrong. A person a mere four rows back answered her phone, speaking as if she were enjoying a cup of coffee at her kitchen table with a couple of friends. I’d like to report that she immediately told the caller that she was in a movie theater and she’ll return the call later, but that was not in the cards.
“Shushes” flew at her from all corners of the theater, but to no avail. I was relieved when the phone call was ended as the opening credits began and actually enjoyed the movie for the first 20 minutes or so. That was about the length of time for the toddler behind me to decide he was bored. I waited what seemed an hour for the mom of this child to either silence him, or take him outside. I’m sure it was really closer to fifteen minutes before I finally decided to turn around to politely ask for quiet. I know you’ll find it shocking that I never did ask. What do you say when you come “face to toe” with the bottom of a bare, dirty foot perched on the seatback next to you? Surprisingly, “Oh yuck!” didn’t work.
Of course, these are just a couple of examples in a day in a life, and thankfully not every day will have such encounters. Now this is where I’m supposed to tell you how polite and considerate I am of all people all the time, but that would just reinforce your initial belief that I’m a liar. Let’s face it, I’m old, ancient if you ask my children, so there may have been an incident or two in my past where I was less than stellar when it came to kindness.
That said, we all need to remember to take that whopping extra fifteen seconds it takes to say please and thank you, maybe even hold the door for another, me included.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t really hate people… okay, maybe sometimes.
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