Is it a lost art or do I just not understand how it works anymore?
In the true spirit of tradition, the older I get, the more I sound like my folks. Just to give you a forewarning of what you are fixin’ to read, this is definitely a Back in My Day kind of observation.
I went to get my oil changed and that was the day I realized how different things are now. When I first opened the door a 20-something-year-old guy was coming out. He was looking the other way and bumped into me. I said, “Oh, excuse me.”
He said, “No problem.” It sort of set me off. I did the polite thing although it was clearly his inattentiveness at fault. I am curious. What happened to the return, “No, excuse me?”
My unprofessional opinion is that his media player earbuds may have been pushed in a little too tight when his parents attempted to teach him the fine art of basic manners. Poor little fella, he missed out on a pretty important lesson.
I was willing to just let it go, until he then squeezed through the door FIRST. This was a bit over the top for me because there were a few teachings of the past that would lend itself to know what to do here. There is the always popular Age Before Beauty, which would have easily applied – he was a sharp guy. There’s always the Ladies First principle. I think some people still use those, right?
Not sure where the Hit the Old Lady and Cram Myself in the Door First adage was adopted, but I’m not big on it.
In that same vein, please and thank you are words I miss. Even when my kids are mad at me, I make them say please and thank you, yes ma’am and no ma’am. It may come out as a blood-curling scream, but by gosh I get it! If they are gonna be ugly, they are at least using manners to do it!
Here’s one more for ya. I have issue when people of any age answer with, “yeah” all the time. Are you serious? Come on. With a wee bit of effort, you can get force out a ma’am or a sir once in awhile. It doesn’t take much. I still say it. None of us will ever do this 100% of the time, but give it a shot occasionally.
Oh, here’s another slow demise I’ve witnessed, the simple wave. There was a time when a wave was just a nice thing to do on the side roads or whatever, to just acknowledge your neighbors. It doesn’t have to be a big gesture.
For those of you, who never learned OR have forgotten how, let me share with you, just a few of my favorites.
- A simple hat tip (cowboy or ball cap, means the same).
- A two finger wave from the steering wheel. Always good.
- The little kid wave, where both hands are going crazy and peanut butter and jelly is flying from them because they are so excited it requires both hands and whatever is in them.
- The classic head nod. Simple, yet always appreciated. Can’t go wrong with that one.
- The beauty queen wave, or as I learned it, “Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wipe a tear and blow a kiss.” It’s a bit much for just passing on the road, but sophistication is never frowned upon.
- And I love the motorcycle wave. Bikers wave to other bikers with a low-five sorta deal. N I C E.
The thing is, when you run into someone who is courteous enough to use these waves, please respond in kind. It’s a small token that may just make someone’s day. Try it! It may even bring a smile to your own face.
Now there are two sides to every coin, so conversely, let me share with you my LEAST favorite way to say hello to someone. Everyone knows what it is; nobody wants to ever see it. What is it, you may ask?
Well, it’s the single finger wave of course! NOT a fan of that one at all. I don’t know very many who are. NEVER respond in kind to this one. Just not the right thing to do.
Please don’t think I’m just casting random stones here. I’m not perfect either. Clearly I have issue in my own home. Why just this last Sunday, we were headed back from Bristow and my youngest, Leah, was waving (so to speak) at the car behind us. Grant you, it was by putting a big “L” for Loser sign on her forehead with her fingers, when we were in front of an elderly couple’s car. BUT bless her heart, I can only assume she was attempting to communicate positively with them, right? Perhaps it was “L” for love. My precious angel wasn’t being discourteous on purpose was she? Surely not.
To set her on the right path however, Teenie took it upon herself to pop her sister’s butt and promptly told on her. Leah quickly revised her “waving” method. Just a little redirection needed there. My status as a respectable pillar in the community is salvaged (at least for ONE day). Whew!
All that to say, let’s keep the tradition of courtesy alive, especially this time of year. Does it make someone’s day a little brighter? Yes sir (or ma’am) it does.
OH, and thank you for reading.