Generally speaking, I try to mind my own business. I don’t usually believe it’s my place to tell other people what to think or how to live their lives, and I’m not the sort of person who honestly believes that the world would be a better place if only everyone else behaved just like me. (I’m way too acquainted with my many faults to believe that one.) I don’t put bumper stickers on my car or signs in my yard, and I have never once written a letter to the editor. “Live and let live” has always been my motto (within reason, of course.)
But either I’m becoming less tolerant in my old age or my inner-bitch is beginning to awaken, because lately I’ve found myself becoming more and more irritated by some of the actions of the people around me. For instance, this morning I was waiting in the check-out line of a bookstore when the woman behind me decided to call someone on her cell phone. I would rather not have heard the intimate details of her breakup with her boyfriend, but I did. And she was speaking so loudly that everyone else in line heard it too. The bottom line is that unless someone is giving out their credit card information (in which case I need them to speak slowly and enunciate clearly so I can write it down), I don’t want to hear their phone conversations when I’m in a public place.
I know I’m hopelessly old fashioned and not a big believer in multi-tasking, but I still believe that when a person is driving a car, that is all they should actually be doing: driving the car. They should not be texting, putting on eye-liner, eating their dinner, or stirring their coffee. Yes, all of those things can be important, but they aren’t important enough to risk someone’s life in a car accident. They just aren’t.
And at the risk of stating the obvious, I firmly believe that personal business should actually be kept personal. I don’t believe that social media is the appropriate setting for family conflicts, neighborhood feuds, failing marriages, or imploding friendships. We all tend to say (or write) things that we shouldn’t in those situations, so why make it worse by doing so in front of the whole world? These days, privacy seems to be little more than a quaint idea, but I truly believe that not every single detail of our lives needs to be shared.
I honestly don’t know if good manners are becoming obsolete or if I am simply becoming old and cranky. My guess is the truth is probably a little of both. But I was raised to believe that being polite and considerate of others made life easier and more enjoyable for everybody, and I think that’s just as true today as it was when I was young. Some things never go out of style…..