You know, the above thought came to me last night due to two different incidents.
The first as we were having dinner at Pei Wei restaurant. It is a P. F. Chang subsidiary. So it is somewhere between fast food and a sit down restaurant with waiter service. What you do is order, pay, find a seat and a server brings your order.
As Mrs. RVFTLC and I were enjoying our dinner, a man was on the other side of us on his phone either e-mailing, texting or online. The server came with his meal and he did not even acknowledge that he was there. And needless to say did not even bother with a thank you. He just went on doing his thing. Within a moment or two he began to eat.
I mean, would it have killed him to lift his head and give the server a thank you? It does not have to be heartfelt. But an acknowledgment of someone bringing a meal to him.
After dinner, and kind of the reason we had dinner out, we went on our way to Master Cashew's first day at puppy school.
And of course not without drama.
As we were heading to the freeway, Mrs. RVFTLC was trying to merge to the right lane to get on the freeway to our destination. She started and a car honked. And the driver we thought just forgot to take her hand off the horn. It was long after Mrs. RVFTLC realized she had to stay in the lane and let the car pass. Too bad the gal driving STILL had her hand on the horn. Mrs. RVFTLC simply raised her hands in a "Really?" manner. And said gal extended a rather long, right-handed middle-finger to Mrs. RVFTLC.
OK, Mrs. RTFTLC realized her mistake and did not try to intentionally cut the gal off. Yet she did not stop honking and ended up flipping us off.
A couple of bursts of the horn would have done the same thing. Mrs. RVFTLC would have acknowledged the error and gestured some apologetic signal to the other driver.
Again, it would be what we used to call common courtesy.
This has opened a floodgate of examples of manners just going out the window.
A good friend of mine and I go out often to eat. Mostly at full-serve restaurants. Several times in the past, my friend was not all that far from the guy I first wrote about.
We would be checking out a menu and he would be trying to check his phone. Texting, Facebooking, something that diverted his attention. And at least twice he was talking to someone as the waiter or waitress was trying to take our order.
What are the two faux-pas here?
One, he is ignoring the waiter/waitress. Two, he is ignoring the guest, me.
Finally one time I finally just told him "Get the hell off the phone! The waiter/waitress wants to take our order!" I then proceeded to tell him how rude it is. And he thanked me because he did not realize he was doing what he was doing.
Another example was pointed out by my friend at The Unmarried Man and this post on e-mails.
Too bad he seems to follow suit of his co-workers in real life.
See, we all have e-mail that we should be answering at work in a timely manner. And as An Unmarried Man points out, a lot of people do not seem to get that. Yet that thinking should not stop when one leaves the office. When someone is e-mailing for needed information and is ignored.
The bottom line of this diatribe is that we all seem to forget the basic courtesies that our parents and or grandparents taught us when we were growing up.
You know, that you must say "please" and "thank you". That it is important to pay attention to people no matter what. That one respects people. That one does not with ease take advantage of others. That a man should, no must open a door for a woman.
I just do not get where this coarseness comes from. Did something happen from when I was growing up to now? Did parents abdicate one of the basics of instillation in children?
I think that there is probably a lot to blame here, but because it is not one thing, rather than blaming something, we must re instill the basic idea of manners. And it starts with each and everyone one of us. One of us at a time.
Maybe instead of the question of what happened to manners, we can say that we started to bring it back.