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Be considerate of those around you

In Food, Health, Opinion, psychology, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 at 9:20 am

DIH LOGODid you ever see someone behaving a certain way at work or in the grocery store and it made you just want to walk up and say to them, “What is wrong with you?” I have; more times than I can remember. On the whole, people annoy me. Maybe it’s because as I get older, I have less patience for “stupid.” It could also be that people are becoming less thoughtful and far more self-centered than ever.

Here’s an example. One afternoon, I had stopped in at on of the big-box, discount megastores to get some orange juice and aspirin. As I stood patiently in the “20 Items or Less” lane, a middle-aged woman in a leopard-print blouse and hair curlers motored past me on one of those electric shopping cart scooters. She was steering the scooter with one hand and with the other she dragged another full sized cart behind her like a trailer.

STORELINEBoth carts were filled to capacity with loads of healthy foods like barrels of cheese balls, cases of beer and soda and, of course, spray cheese. Although there were other check-out lanes open for larger purchases, the woman obliviously whizzed by everyone in the line and parked her rig right in front of me. All of the adjacent lanes were equally full and what was going to be a 5 minute wait was now bordering on a half hour because either she couldn’t read or didn’t understand the meaning of the words, “express lane.”

For a few minutes, I just stood there; a bit stunned at the woman’s total ignorance that she’d completely jumped over at least four others in line ahead of her. I debated whether to say anything but kept quiet. After all, no matter how rude she had been, I would just end up being the mean guy who scolded an apparently disabled older woman on a scooter. It’s a no win. So, I bit my tongue, opened my aspirin bottle, downed two tablets with some of the juice, and waited.

We all have moments when we’re in a hurry, totally consumed by our own interests and feeling like whatever we’re doing should be just as urgent to those around us. But, short of a natural disaster, that’s almost never the case. In fact, most people have absolutely no concern for your interests because they, themselves, are too wrapped up in their own issues. That doesn’t excuse a complete lack of common courtesy, however.

Lately, I’ve noticed it more often in younger people, walking along, even in a store or down the street, with their noses buried in their cell phones, unconscious to the world around them. No one looks up anymore. No one smiles. No one says, “Hello.” People act as if they are traveling in a bubble, where it’s unnecessary or at least undesirable to interact with anyone else in the real world.

I’d like to be able to blame social media and technology for all of this, and it definitely has altered how we behave towards one another. But, ultimately, it’s our own fault. We choose how to act and interact. If all of your interpersonal relations come through Facebook or by text, you might want to consider taking a class or getting a hobby that requires you to intermingle with other people outside of cyberspace.

As for those like my scooter-riding line jumper, I doubt anything will alter their way of thinking. Society will always have its share of self-centered people who have little regard for common sense or good manners. How the rest of us react to their behavior is really what will make the difference.

Maybe if I had complained to the woman in some polite, diplomatic manner, I could have quietly helped her to another line. But, given that she didn’t seem to notice there were other people around her, it’s unlikely she would have responded to reason.

In the end, it was best to keep the peace and let each of my fellow shoppers decide on their own alternate course of action. But to those of you with no regard for others, keep in mind that I may not be so polite next time. Be nice to people. When all is said and done, all we have is each other.

 

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