Being born, raised and, until recently, spending my life in the Midwest, I have come to expect a certain standard of decorum. I realize that I am living on the coast now and that things are different.
I have seen people from both the right and left sides who are visiting my homeland shrink away from the overt friendliness of strangers. I get that people here are busy being “green” and worrying over the welfare of some insect. They don’t have time to devote thought to the other members of their species they are part of.
But come on!
I am crossing the street in an approved crosswalk with the go ahead from the pedestrian light. Traffic is stopped. I don’t know if the light was short or I was slow but it changed in favor of the traffic waiting for me while I was still crossing. As I passed in front of a car, the driver honked and pointed angrily at the light! He was already stopped! How long did it take me to walk all the way past the front of his car? How long did I delay him, two seconds?
I was leaving the parking lot of a large supermarket. In front of me a woman was pulled to the right with her blinker on, waiting for someone to vacate a space ahead. You know, one of those that will wait five minutes in order to avoid an extra thirty seconds of walking. There was plenty of room so, not wanting to wait, I began to pass her car on the left. Suddenly and without even looking, she whips in front of me. I hit my brakes and my horn.
But wait, there’s more. After almost hitting me and causing me to make an unsafe maneuver, she has the audacity to yell at me! How dare I presume to occupy a place in the Universe she wanted to be!
I was taking my daily run. The trail is wide enough for three people; the idea being that slower pedestrians stay to the right leaving a middle “passing” lane for faster traffic. A marvel of forethought but a wasted one.
Coming toward me are two women walking abreast, yacking away. Coming up behind me is another woman with a dog walking about .05 MPH faster than I. As we all meet does the oncoming person in the “middle lane” step aside? No! Does the woman coming up behind me ask them to or even excuse herself? Of course not! She quite literally pushes past me! That was two people being rude in tandem!
People here simply act as if they were the only ones on the road or in the aisles of the store. At least as if they are the only ones that matter. It is undeserved self-importance in the extreme.
Now I am certainly not Miss Manners but I do try to hold to a certain standard of decorum. I excuse myself, I yield as needed and I try to avoid farting in elevators. I ask no more or less of my fellow man. I am getting fed up with the rampant rudeness here on the Left Coast.
I am declaring war on it.
I have been patient and tried my best to exemplify and promote the standard of interaction I would like everyone to adhere to. But being an example just is not working. It never has been an effective way to change society. Hitler did not gain power by holding doors for old ladies.
Lucky for me (and unlucky for the rude persons I encounter from now on) I have been East Coast trained. People in the New York area are not as friendly as Midwesterners but they are not unecessarily rude either. Note the word “unecessarily.” If someone broaches societal standards with them, the return fire is withering.
This is my plan from here on out. I will continue to be a model of the type of public behavior best suited to society. But when one of these bark eating arrogant self-centered hippies is rude to me, I am going to show them how we do things downtown.
It may not work. I may not change the world. But god dammit I am going to feel better.