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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Politeness: Where Have You Gone?

I was in a Walgreens last night picking up a few things. As I perused the aisles, I passed a number of other people, who also happened to be perusing. Of course, if Johnny Cowboy Hat is looking at a shelf and deciding between Funyuns (Fun + Onions) and Fritos (Fr + Itos), and I pass between him and the delicious, salty snacks, then I say, “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.”

It’s a considerate thing to do. He can’t decide if he wants a night of Fun-soaked onions or a night of Fr-soaked itos. The last thing he needs is a break in concentration. It’s the brief distraction that I’m apologizing for.

I walked over a few aisles to candy shelves. Now I’m in a similar pickle. Do I go with the Baby Ruth or the Butterfinger? Gosh, I mean, Butterfinger reminds me of The Simpsons, and that makes me laugh. Then again, Baby Ruth reminds me of a turd, and that makes me laugh, too. Not because I would ever eat a turd. Society views the eating of one’s own waste as ill-mannered. Unbecoming. Uncivilized. Fucking gross.

Anyway, moving on…

Johnny Cowboy Hat had also wandered over to the candy aisle. As he came quite quickly down the aisle, I anticipated our interaction and moved closer to the shelf I was currently looking at. This way, he could walk behind me, and there would be no need for apologies, pleasantries, and the like.

He walks in front of me. Between myself and the Butterfinger and Baby Ruth I’m pickling over. Okay, no big deal. It happens. Maybe I wasn’t over far enough. I never really gave him the “guiding look.”

GUIDING LOOK
When two people are walking closely around each other within a confined space, to avoid any embarrassing or awkward interactions, it is sometimes necessary to give that person a look that says, “Here, friend, walk this way, the way that which I have selflessly set out for you.” This look usually includes a grimace or subtle grin and a raising of the eyebrows. It’s as if you’re saying, “Yes, though we each have our own lives outside of this store/establishment/shopping experience, I am still recognizing your existence on this planet for the short time that we may potentially interact.”

I let it roll off my back, and waited for the polite, “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” But there was nothing. Johnny Cowboy Hat merely walked through, breaking my concentration willy-nilly, and didn’t consider my existence on this planet at all. What a fucker.

I was so insulted that I completely forgot which candy I was debating to buy. But before I could do anything, he was gone, probably moving on to a different aisle and out of my life forever. Maybe he was back to Funyuns and Fritos. Or maybe he’d moved on to the “As Seen On TV” section.

It just really bothered me the whole night. And all day today. Where have politeness and consideration to strangers gone, folks? Do people think of anyone other than themselves anymore?


I mean, even the one time a week when I go out to hunt and kill a hobo, I always give them a head start. At least thirty seconds. Sometimes a minute. Those hobos usually have respiratory problems, so a minute is sometimes necessary.

But not just necessary. Considerate. Polite.

23 Comments:

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Carney Man said...

I hear ya. But lately I'm finding that the hobos are becoming lazy, which makes the hunt less exciting. Therefore, I staple a string of blackcat or various other firecrackers to them, which usually makes them take off like a shot. That way you only have to give them the usual 30 second head start. Saves me time.

 
At 6:59 PM, Anonymous crystal said...

I was in the grocery store today, in the 10 items or less line, with my little green plastic basket filled with 2-liters of soda. the guy in front of me, with 2 items in his giant push cart, is taking up the entire aisle. the person in front of him moves on, and i wait patiently for him to scoot so i can put down the 900lb basket. but no such luck. his items are scanned, he pulls out his wallet, chats up the scanner girl, pays, and then leaves. without moving his cart. Maybe I'm the only sucker that puts all my stuff on the conveyer belt in a small an area as possible, and makes room for the next person. or maybe the world is full of johnny cowboy hats, oblivious to the world around them outside of the latest girls gone wild video. maybe both!

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger Katie said...

That's just pathetic! Fucking bastard breaking your concentation! The whole world is going to hell on rollerskates! Oh, but wait, one hero remains polite and considerate, brings a tear to my eye. Thanks Andy, for being a role model of consideration and proper hobo disposal. You amke it possible for me to sleep at night. Thanks.

 
At 7:52 PM, Blogger Katie said...

"Make." I meant make. Amke is not a word in the english language, or any other to my knowldge.

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Caro said...

a full minute head start? damn, you're getting a little too polite there. and you know what it means when you're too polite...you're manipulative and you want something.

but yes, an occasional "excuse me" or "thank you" would not be too hard to remember to use. people these days. yelling "run, forrest, run," but not saying "excuse me" and "please."

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Big Bro said...

I'm convinced Mom & Dad disadvantaged us somehow by raising us as polite individuals. I mean, I say "excuse me" or "pardon me" to people who are obviously walking on the wrong side of a hallway and almost run into me. As if is somehow my fault! And then, I sit and think about how f**king rude these people are and I get annoyed or upset. If we hadn't be raised correctly, we could be the rude people, ignorant of our rudeness, and cause other people to die earlier for their frustration. Or something like that.

 
At 10:20 PM, Blogger Former Intern Andy said...

Haha, totally. Instead, we'll be the ones dying early. We're the Frank Grimes of the world. (Simpsons' reference)

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Big Bro said...

Yup - just call me "Grimey." ;)

 
At 8:55 AM, Blogger Adammmmmm said...

So you're the guy that made * "Bum-Hunter". I thought that was you faking a Steve Corvin accent and "wrastlin" bums to the ground for the sake of me...the sick, twisted, viewer.

* Bum-Hunter was volume 2 of Bumfights. If you're squeamish, don't watch it. If you're a sick bastard, enjoy.

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger Miss Devylish said...

Lack of common courtesy just kills me.. but I find it's very common in the general public. Around Seattle, when letting someone merge in on the road, they should give you the thank you wave - half the time, it doesn't happen. Infuriates me to no end.. I think you should leave the hobos and start chasing the ungrateful mergers down.. I'd pay to see that.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

People are asses, especially people in the North East. They don't hold the elevator door for you, even though your 2 inches from the entrance, they don't hold any doors for you, even though you're right behind them, they don't wave to you after you let their car cut in front of you, and they certainly don't say "excuse me, pardon me, I'm sorry" when shoving past you. Bitches!

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger El Tiburon said...

I recently enlisted the practice of whipping out the cellphone and talking shit about the perp to an imaginary person on the other line.

"Hey Dave, what's going on? Me? I WAS looking at the candy bars in Walgreens until some asshat walked in front of me."

Yes, it's immature and potentially dangerous but these are desperate times calling for desperate measures. ¡Viva la revolución!

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'm constantly amazed at the 'asshole-ishness' of people nowadays. In traffic, on cell phones, and in grocery stores.

Last week I was at the store in a long line, when the next cashier opened and said, "next in line..." I looked to the woman in front of me, who had her stuff on the conveyer belt and offered her a chance to move. She said "you go." [a one-second transaction] and three people jumped my spot. The overwhelmed cashier gave me a helpless look as the angry cutters unpacked their crap).

However, as I left, the first cutter was still in line because her card was denied and she had no cash on hand (much to her chagrin and to the cutters behind her). The cashier winked and said, "Hi, Mr. Karma!" as I passed by...

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

I've come to a grim conclusion. The grocery store is where all the impolite people gather up their impolite children and come for an fun-filled afternoon of being impolite. My biggest grocery pet peeve is when the bastards stand there in the middle of the aisle and just... well... stand there. You can't get around them, so you have to wait or say excuse me and HOPE they move. I'm usually too shy for such things. So instead I just stand there, look at my watch (I don't really wear a watch btw), tap my foot, and try to look as annoyed as possible. Perhaps rolling the eyes a time ore two.

One of these days... I'm gonna get crazy and smack a ho.

 
At 3:39 PM, Blogger Jason said...

Wait a minute, I rented "Bum-Hunter" the other day and it wasn't what I expected at all. I wondered why it was in the back, curtained off room.

I thought it was just because the video store was anti-australian, which I support.

And just remember, you may be annoyed by The Rude now, but you'll get the last laugh when they're burning in hell.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger Squeaky said...

I was just about to post on entry about how people in the South are too polite - always thanking people for everything and for complimenting people on clothes that are actually very ugly.

Then you went and made a post about manners. Now, I can't post it without feeling like a copy cat.

Thank you for reading my mind.

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Kimberly said...

Interesting. Although I might have gone with Fri-soaked-tos rather then fr-soaked-itos.

 
At 11:45 PM, Blogger PureViLmay said...

that mean arse!!
what's HIS problem!!?!?!

like saying EXCUSE ME or IM SORRY would hurt anyone. impolite society...*sigh*

i hear you maaan

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger lovelygreensweater said...

You know I totally get that. its like the "you go ahead, I'll wait" in your hand move (because its not quite a wave). You know the one. I absolutely hate when I give them the go ahead and then they don't give me the "thank you for bbeing polite and letting me go" wave. I mean it common courtasy people!!

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger lovelygreensweater said...

i meant 'courtesy'. damn my not so nimble typing fingers...

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Maybe I live in Politeville, because I don't come across these problems. Or maybe it's just because I tend to beat the crap out of people that even look at me the wrong way ... or run over them in lovelygreensweater's case.

 
At 4:45 PM, Blogger Gloria Glo said...

You're so kind to hobos. I always can tell, when the news reports a hobo killer, that it was you by those lovely little "Thank you for letting me kill you today." notes. True politeness is rare. It's why you're a hero of mine.

 
At 6:33 PM, Blogger geekdarling said...

"Gosh, I mean, Butterfinger reminds me of The Simpsons, and that makes me laugh. Then again, Baby Ruth reminds me of a turd, and that makes me laugh, too."

Oh Andy, I love you so much...

 

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