Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Species Lost...

If you have ever watched a nature show or attended an elementary school, you're probably aware that there are certain animals out there who go to extreme lengths to protect and provide for their young. The kangaroo carries her baby joey around in a pouch, birds regurgitate food into their babies mouths-- come on, if I had to regurgitate anything, it wouldn't be pretty. Where I'm going with this is that it seems to me that sometimes the animal world has surpassed our human integrity....

Mike and I were leaving Borders last night and it had just begun to rain. A mother had blocked the entire door with her stroller and didn't mind in the least that we had to squeeze in and step over it to get out the doorway, which was entirely blocked. She didn't volunteer an apology or make the slightest effort to move it. More disturbing was the fact that her baby was IN the stroller IN the rain! As she waited for someone to pull the car up for her, the baby was getting wet. "Make way for mother of the year!" She definately has the mom who casually sipped her drink while her children did flips on the metal railing beat. Those kids got rewarded with balloons for their potentially lawsuit inflicting acrobatics. Maybe it was my parents who were crazy lunatics, but my sister and I didn't act out in public and I'm fairly certain that we were never used as a doorstop.

It makes me feel old that I seem to be the only one bothered by society's allowance of manners and basic decency to fall by the wayside. I'm seriously in the minority that it bothers me that people act so self-centered. Most other people I know, don't even notice it, but I just can't believe that I'm being too uptight. Eating at a small Chinese restaurant during my lunch hour today, I got to be a silent observer of the other people who shared this small space with me and I made a mental laundry list of things that I was surprised by or considered rude. I'm open to the possibility that my standards for manners are high and involve old-fashioned language such as "May I please have," instead of "gimme a," or thanking a waiter rather than ignoring them and continuing a conversation.
As I arrived at this great little restaurant there was only one other group of people there, a mother and her two daughters. As I was seated and the waiter was taking my order, the mother called out to him that she was ready to order now as well. To me, this is taboo for a few reasons. The first of which, the man was already talking to someone, there was no one else in the restaurant. Waiting her turn wouldn't have taken more than 15 seconds. Secondly, even if the waiter wasn't already engaged, I would probably wait for him to return to me since I had made him wait in the first place. Obviously, she couldn't have been in a dire hurry.
As he took their order, another woman came into the restaurant and was seated a few booths behind me. She immediately whipped out her cell phone and had an extremely loud conversation in Italian that lasted the entire duration of my time there. Again, I know I am in the minority in thinking that cell phone use in public earshot is rude and annoying, not to mention she was practically shouting. The fact that you are speaking in another language doesn't make it okay and if you ask me, it probably makes it a little worse.
Within moments, a second woman arrived and was seated across the room from us. She proceeded to speed dial someone on her cell and it became absolute conversational warfare in there. I literally couldn't concentrate on the book that I was reading, which didn't matter because my food arrived so quickly.
As I began my meal, I was actually impressed that the two little girls and the mom were able to hold a normal "restaurant-style" conversation that wasn't overly loud or screaming for the attention of the other patrons. We both had our meals delivered and only moments later another mother and child arrived and joined the other family. They brought bags of food from Subway. Call me crazy, but bringing your own food to a restaurant is a little over the top. When they got up to leave, they left their Subway wrappers all over the table. Disgusting.

I know I am no angel either, but at least when I get up to leave, I stack my plates and silverware, leave a large tip, and say "thank you." If only we could be more like those stupid animals...

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