I believe the children are our future and we’re so screwed

3 08 2009

Our society is in such a hurry that we’ve no time for courtesy.  We’ve no place for random acts of kindness.  What happened to respect?  Is it only reserved for elders?  At the gas station or shopping centre or any other building with doors, I find myself spun aside as the masses push past me, my slowness causing a breakdown in their otherwise speedy life.  And since it would take too long to hold open a door for a person behind them, it slams in my face.  I feel like the black sheep in the Visa commercials; you know the one, who insists on writing a check or using cash and causing a delay in the system of speed and moving on.  I am that proverbial check writer, the young woman with the invisible tortoise shell back who is crawling along at speeds that even the snails can surpass.  I want to scream at times, to yell out, wait til you are injured.  But in truth, I wouldn’t wish this on my greatest enemy.  Holding the door open for someone coming in is something from an old black and white romance flick, in modern times, it trims fifteen seconds off of one’s precious day.  Waiting that thirty extra seconds for someone to cross the cross walk, could mean the you miss the light cycle and have to endure an extra two to four minutes on the roadways with other drivers just as anxious to arrive at their point B of the day.  As the new register lane becomes open, shoppers rush like the wind to be the first in line, ignoring the approaching buggy and person already en route and only inches away from the lane opening.  It is a world of me first and me now and me five minutes ago.  I endure the honks and waving of hands as I cross the street or parking lot with the grace and speed of Grandma Mabel.  I wilter as I feel the eyes examining me for some sort of visible malady as I take too long to unload my shopping cart or grimace in pain after dropping some silly item that failed to stay in my grasp.  Okay well, maybe Castro or Kim could be saddled with something like this, but I wouldn’t want to witness it.

I broke down finally and bought a cane.

Emotionally, this was one of the most painful actions I have endured in a long time.  Physically though, I am not so much a Quasimodo any longer and standing for more than five minutes is tolerable.  And I notice a slight bit more respect, which actually pisses me off.  With cane in hand, doors are held open and gentlemen come out of some magical woodwork to play the role of shining knight.  Reaching for a dropped box of cereal finds some cavalier come swooping in to present it to me as though I was some damsel in distress who had just dropped her kerchief.  Why is it that it takes this extreme to find decency?  Why is it with two legs and a hunchback I am ignored or prodded impatiently but with this third one suddenly I am transformed into some grand dame to be waited upon?

I was raised to respect everyone, not just my elders, but human beings and living creatures and property of others alike.  My parents, for all they did wrong, got it right in teaching me that respect is the greatest gift one person can give another, and it has gotten me far in relationships.  And as a parent, it is the one value I try hardest to instill, and have done so if feedback from other parents and teachers is any measure of my children’s qualities.  It astounishes me every time when I go to my children’s schools and hear the words and witness the rudeness of other children.  If this is our future, someone better grab a bar of soap now!

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