As a child with a large family – so large indeed that even at 22 i am still unaware of how many people i am actually closely related to – my mother introduced me to writing letters and collecting pen pals in order to keep in touch with distant relatives and probably other educational benefits such as keeping me out of her hair for a few hours a week. However, as she would attest to, this didnt always work, whilst i am a great lover of the written word and strangely enjoy sitting down to write (or these days type) out a letter designed for that distant friend and relative who i miss greatly. I am pretty rubbish at it.
Now don’t get me wrong i can witter for England and do find the most minute facts of other people’s lives fascinating and love it when i have a letter all for me that isnt a scary bill or a credit card company trying to make me believe i need MORE borrowed money. But i am pretty rubbish at the whole social etiquette of being a pen pal – which also translates into this blog and my long suffering readers will realise this – as much as i love to write away my hours i can very rarely make myself actually sit down and commit to a certain amount of time a week to do it. Instead i tend to write in fits and over smaller concentrated periods of time rather than a blog or letter a week i will probably do two or three in a few days then nothing for months.
With this little shortcoming of mine i am fully aware i probably drive many people crazy and greatly frustrate them whilst they wait for some communication from me, but i think in the grand scheme of things my fault isnt that bad. I say this because in my current workplace i am a customer service person, so much fun, but it means i get to spend all day observing people and their habits and the way they treat other people and i have to say i find it thoroughly depressing.
Now i am not naive enough to say that periods of time where eitiquette ruled society were much better places than modern society but i have to say i miss the day where i could talk to twenty/thirty people a day and at least half of them were polite and even pleasant. As it is i spend much of my time imitating Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances telling people to speak up, tutting at men who insist on talking to me with their hands down their trousers and getting angry and middle aged men and women who think that i am something they have trodden in and not another human being who deserves to be treated politely.
This lack of social etiquette in modern day life i know is one which is much debated in the terms of the responsibility and actions of the youth in such events as the recent riots and hate crimes. But i for one do not blame only young people alone, in my work i often receive abuse from young people but more often than not the people who are the most impolite and the most difficult to deal with are adults who should know better. They ignore you, talk over you, belittle you, refuse to even look at you whilst you are trying to assist them and many other things which i find very difficult to understand when they are the ones setting the example and teaching the younger generations how to behave in such social situations.
I am not saying that every single person i come into contact with are impolite and rude; i understand that many people have very stressful lives which often come out in the way they deal with strangers and people working in their local supermarket, restaurant and even pass on the street. However, i challenge you to evaluate your own behaviour and see whether or not you have been as polite as you could to that grouchy looking girl at the checkout – maybe she was just fed up of people ignoring her all day – or whether you were indeed rude in your short answers and sighing as you wait to be served?