Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where has all the etiquette gone?

Maybe it's the decreasing personal interactions, or just lack of sensitivity, but people now don't seem to have the time for basic civic responsibilities. To be fair, most are blissfully unaware of these responsibilities, even though the same people would expect the rest of the world to know and follow them.

Talking in the theatre and driving styles are whole different stories each. There are those who bring babies to late night shows when they are at their crankiest best, those that insist on bringing underage kids to adult movies, and of course those that can't stop passing "witty" remarks at every scene for the whole theatre to hear. In the words of Shepherd Book (and I paraphrase) - there is a special hell for these people.

People are now more cynical of even helping people who are in obvious and genuine need of help, case in point, when the victims of a brutal crime were left almost naked and seriously injured on the side of the road, no one stopped to call the police or even give them a piece of cloth to cover themselves.

We live in cities where people rarely return your smile even if you see them everyday, and people who won't hold the elevator for two extra seconds even when they see you running to get on. Eve teasing has become something women have to accept as a way of life. Holding open doors for people in need is a thing of the past. No matter what damage or inconvenience someone is causing the other, action will not be taken till they feel like it.

Children too are picking up on this. Adults go by the notion that children's actions are excusable just because they are children and don't understand anything. So, if a child playing in the main driveway runs into a car slowly backing up, the driver is put at fault. Not the parent who was busy chattering away while the child was running amok. It's alright if a child rips apart your plant, or damages something in someone else's house - because they're children. Apparently, so are their parents!

Many such minor episodes culminate to a higher level of apathy and cynicism. We have become wary of people asking for help. A security guard at our building who would always greet us, asked my husband for some money to treat his son for malaria. My husband said he'll pay for the treatment if he just shows us the blood report of the child. The report never showed up. The next time someone asks for money, with what faith would we give it to them?

At the end of the day, when it all gets too much, it helps to concentrate on the goodness of people, no matter how few and far between they are. Be watchful and grateful for the simple joys that creep into your life unnoticed. Because the new year will only bring you so much happiness as much as you bring to it.

And because I don't want to start the year's first blog post bitching about life, here's some cute.