Common-Courtesy Rules 2

Pauline’s Soapbox

“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.” ~ Emerson

Pauline’s Soapbox
Image created by Kwang Choi

Going to a Rockies game recently has made adding to my Common-Courtesy Rules a necessity. There’s nothing like a huge crowd to inspire one of my soap-box lectures. Maybe I’m asking too much with some of these rules. Maybe expecting courteous behavior to be common to all people, in all cultures is only an optimistic dream. But I refuse to give up hope. I believe we can find a better way to share the space we must all use.

Here are the rules I have to add to the list:

Hold the door open for people 

This rule used to apply to men only. I was fortunate to grow up during a time when it was a natural thing for any man to hold a door for any woman. Even if I tried to hold the door open for a man, he would not allow it. It was a beautiful, respectful thing. With the rise of feminism, however, women said they were offended by this gallant gesture: Women were perfectly capable of opening their own doors.

I get it. I’m not a frail woman. I don’t want to be considered the “weaker sex” in any context, but holding the door open wasn’t about the frailty of women; it was about a courtesy that men offered to women. Times have changed, but this courtesy should not disappear. It just makes sense for anyone, man or woman, to hold the door for someone coming towards it. It’s kind. It’s considerate. It’s easy. Just do it.

If you accidentally step on someone, say I’m sorry.

Believe it or not, this happens to me everywhere I go. I will be standing in line, minding my own business, and someone in front of me, behind me, or next to me will somehow step on my foot. I know this is an accident, but isn’t that the perfect time to say, “I’m sorry”? If it weren’t an accident, then “I’m sorry” would not make any sense; one does not apologize for intentional acts.

More often than not, it is a teenager (or younger) who steps on me. The teenager will wobble after my foot throws him or her off balance, but yet I will not even get a sideways glance from the culprit, let alone an apology. Occasionally, I will say, “Excuse me. You just stepped on my foot.” One would think that would produce an immediate, “I’m sorry.” No. I get a deer-in-the-headlights stare, which renders him or her speechless. On one occasion, I had a parent yell at me, telling me his son “did no such thing!” Seriously?

Even more surprising is when an adult steps on my foot and doesn’t apologize. I truly do not understand. It’s not that hard. “I’m sorry.” See. It’s simple. It’s so simple I sometimes apologize for things that aren’t my fault. It takes nothing away from me to apologize, sincerely, for a mistake; however, it does create a more courteous world.

Don’t have a water war in the stands.

Yes. I witnessed and got wet by said water war at the Rockies game. And guess what? No apology. What goes through people’s minds in this situation?

Huhhh huhh huh. I am here with ten people. Huhhh huhh huh.  I have the right to throw water at Butthead and not care if I get anyone else wet. Huhhh huhh huh.  Everyone will laugh.

And then the intended target must say to himself:

Huhhh huhh huh. I have to get Beavis back for dumping water on me. Huhhh huhh huh. I don’t care who I soak in the process. Huhhh huhh huh. The people around me will think I’m funny.

Really? I am there to watch a baseball game. I don’t want to watch stupid people act childish, and I certainly don’t want to get wet. Is this too much to ask? People who think this is cool, please hear me. If you were really that entertaining, your show would still be on the air, huhhh huhh huh, and people would be paying you to act that way. You are not entertaining, so keep your buffoonery at home.

Don’t swear in public, especially where there are children present.

Yes. This rule is prompted by the same water-war buttheads, but truthfully, I hear it everywhere. The occasional swear word is uncomfortable, but understandable. Even I have made the occasional mistake with this rule, but I catch myself more often than not, so much so that my son says “what the” and “son-of-a” as his expletives, which is still embarrassing.

However, for those people who think it is okay to let vulgarities flow in an unrestrained manner, please correct your behavior. The only explanation I can give for this public display of different ways to drop the F-bomb is a poor vocabulary and/or obliviousness to one’s surroundings and/or a complete disregard for common courtesy. You and your friends may think it is cool; the rest of us want to wash your mouth out with soap.

Don’t get drunk at your five-year-old’s birthday party.

Did I mention that the water-war, swearing buttheads were throwing a birthday party for their five-year-old daughter? True. They were also drunk. I have a hard time believing that this little girl wanted to watch the Rockies game with her drunk relatives for her birthday, but considering all the other behaviors, she may have been raised to believe this is how to have fun. Please note: I am not opposed to a family gathering at a game that I love. Instilling a love for baseball is exactly what we were doing for my son; however, I am opposed to women flashing their favorite players in front of my son. I know the Rock Pile is known for its cheap seats, but do they have to be filled with discourteous people? Whether you’re at a Rockies game or Chuck E. Cheese, getting drunk at your child’s birthday party is disrespectful to your child and all the other people who have to share that space.

Don’t litter.

Even though the water-war, swearing, drunk buttheads left such a mess in the stands that they decided to take over another section, this rule isn’t just about them. This rule is also for the people who throw paper plates, fast-food bags, and drink cups out their windows while driving down the thruway or in residential areas. Why do these people do this? I don’t understand. Put a garbage bag in your car. Throw that bag away at home or in a dumpster. It is one of the most ridiculous, lazy actions I have ever seen. We have a beautiful world that is getting trashed by thoughtless people. Hold onto your trash and dispose of it properly.

Courtesy is being respectful to the people around you and thinking about how your actions impact them. Let’s make our world a better place to live by embracing these common-courtesy rules.

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4 Responses to Common-Courtesy Rules 2

  1. j-tony says:

    Love the B&B reference. Also quick story. When I was about 17 and cursing like a sailor a strange lady interrupted my friends and I and very politely told us how unintelligent we sounded cussing like we were. At that very moment in my life I made a decision to watch my mouth. It was a wonderful eye opener.

    Nice post

    J

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks, J! I think the possibility of any adult correcting our behavior when we were younger kept us in line or served as a solid reminder to behave. Those days are gone now, unfortunately. Either people are rude about the reprimand or the offender will tell the person to eff off.
      I wonder if we started a movement, using the lady from your story as an example, if we could help teach others common courtesy. Let’s try! 🙂

  2. Jessie says:

    Haha I agree with everything you said. I agree that feminism should mean that women also hold doors open and that everyone should hold doors open for everyone. I have to say that lingo is kinda changing, like sometimes instead of saying “I’m saying” kids will say “My bad” or at least I do.

    I’d like to make a New York version of this haha. 1. Don’t push a pregnant woman out of the way for a seat on the subway. This really happened to me when I was pregnant with Justin, very pregnant. 2. To my sister and others- stop cursing out children who are wearing Red Sox gears at Yankee Stadium. I know they are committing some kind of sin, but they are only children ;). 3. The streets are not a toilet. Haha I’d say those are the big ones.

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