That snow we got last month? That was nothing folks. We are now recovering from what they’re calling the “Blizzard of 2007.” OK, now we’re talking major snow storm, now we’re talking Breaking News category. I’ll give them that.
But do they have to extend the Breaking News to a consecutive NINE HOURS? I am not making this up, folks. As a matter of fact, the news people proudly boasted yesterday that they have given us NINE straight hours of coverage, and after NINE STRAIGHT HOURS of “Let’s go now to Medina and see what’s going on there” (I bet it’s snowing) and “Let’s see what’s happening in Canton” (snowing) and “Let’s go now to Bob in BFE (Ok, I made that last one up but when reporter Bob does make it to BFE, I just know for sure it’s gonna be snowing).
OH, and then they tell us not to worry, our regularly scheduled programs will be...
broadcast so you won’t miss them, that’s right, stay tuned for them to air at … 1:30 a.m.!! Are they kidding me??
Okay now that I’ve got all that off my chest (Sorry, I didn’t plan on talking about this topic but I am sure all you Midwest people can identify with what I’m saying here. The media is just a little too, well … too … much (I have to be careful here if I want their attention when my next book comes out J
So it’s time to move on. To what I really wanted to talk about.
Let’s title it:
Why Can’t Everybody Just Be Nice? (yes, even to media people)
Have you noticed that people are becoming ruder, nastier, and just down right meaner?
I’ve come to the conclusion that these meanies are really just sad, unhappy people who are so miserable and lonely in their gloomy state that they simply want to spread this unhappiness where ever they go. I wish they’d just keep their grumpy misery to themselves…
I know, everybody can’t be happy, life is full of tragedies. But can’t we all be nice to one another? Is that too much to ask? Apparently for some…
I was reminded of this the other day when someone who really isn’t very nice, got nasty to me on the phone at my job (well, one of the jobs I do when I’m not writing. This one is where I play hostess one day a week at a local restaurant - just to get me more novel ideas. Wink, wink).
It wasn’t the first time something like this has happened, as you’ll read further down, but it does make me think why some people assume that if you are doing a particular job that doesn’t require say, brain surgery, that you in fact, don’t have much to go on. And so they treat you like you’re some kind of ditz (I was gonna mention a few famous names here, but realizing I’m on the WORLD WIDE Web, decided to forgo the name-calling. Besides I’m a nice person)
Of course, when people are mean, rude and nasty, they rarely do this to your face (save for ones like the road-rage people, who’ve been known to get right into your face), because they can sound meaner, ruder, and nastier on the phone, or in the email, or as they whiz by in a car with their middle finger in the air. Whatever …
So I dug out an essay I wrote on this topic a few years back, and thought I’d share it with you.
It is my hope that those who may be guilty of these actions will read it, and change their nasty ways.
Hey, I’m a writer, therefore I dream…
Till next time.
Peace and love, oh, and happiness, too, for all you nice people,
Where’s Our Manners?
A "National Nice Week" Might Feel Good
I’m beginning to think we need a new national holiday. It wouldn't require cards, flowers or money. "National Nice Week" would simply suggest that people be nice to one another – for an entire week. This would include family members (friends are a given or we wouldn’t have any) but also coworkers, bosses, and strangers. It would have to last more than one day because, after all, anyone can be nice for a day. The real challenge would come when we'd have to be courteous, considerate and well, nice, to others through an entire week.
I like this idea because I think many of us are slacking off in the nice department. It seems we’re becoming a nation of impolite and inconsiderate people and are almost accepting of it. I first noticed it when my kids were young. I’d take them out in public and someone would say to me, “Oh, your children are so polite!” in a tone that suggested that this was unusual. Although I appreciated the comment I had to wonder why it seemed so rare that it bore mentioning. “Say please, thank you, and be considerate of others” were the manners most of us grew up with. I was simply passing it on.
Lately, I’ve noticed a shortage of good manners, examples of niceties being pushed aside like bullies in a playground as we rush busily through our day. Technology, of course, is partly to blame. We’ve all been witnesses to excessive cell phone use. People oblivious to others around them as they chat on and on into their cordless conversation piece. We’ve experienced the disrupting sound of ringing or musical jingles piercing through a church service or presentation while its owner digs in pockets or searches frantically through a purse to silence it. In fact, I recently attended a funeral service, and smack in the middle of the minister quoting from the Bible no less, came a cheery little song that echoed happily throughout the dully quiet room. Was it angels welcoming my dear cousin into their heavenly midst? No, the woman behind me confirmed that it was her phone when she bent down to grab her purse to quickly shut it off.
While it is truly sometimes a case of forgetfulness, more often it’s the same guilty person (who secretly likes the attention). And many of us have also experienced rude behavior through an email or phone call that probably wouldn’t have occurred had we stood face-to-face.
Recently, I was answering the phone at my job when a caller was having trouble with her phone line. “I’m sorry, all I’m hearing is static,” I tried explaining over the loud “schhh-schhhing.” “I think it’s your line since my other calls are coming in clear.” This didn’t seem to register as the woman only tried talking louder. “Please try again later,” I begged her on call number three. By the fifth call within minutes, I probably did sound a bit irritated. “I’m sooorrrry, I still caaaann’t hear what you are saying. I don’t know what else to tell you,” and I hung up. The determined woman somehow found another line and called again. This time I could hear her loud and clear, and it wasn’t pretty. “You hung up on me!” she screamed. “What are you - young, dumb and never had a job before?”
I wanted to tell her that no, at 50-something, I can’t say I’m considered young (but thanks for the compliment), that I’ve been working since I was 15, and would hope that a college degree and life experience would render me fairly intelligent. I wanted to say all this but I couldn’t get it in over her ranting. Which made me wonder, would she have talked to me like that in person? Probably not. Yet how easy it was to spew insults to an unknown.
Then I heard a story about a performer at a Cleveland concert club last summer who had to stop in the middle of a song because the din of chatter among the crowd was so loud he could barely hear himself. The singer got the message across to the audience, but I wondered if they even realized how rude they’d been. I thought the same thing the week before when I attended a group memorial service at a fairground where hundreds gathered outside to pay respects. Although loud speakers were used, I couldn’t hear the orator over the people sitting nearby, talking away as if at a picnic. “I’m sorry,” I began, so they didn’t think I was rude interrupting their conversation, “but I really want to hear what he’s saying.” “Oh, sorry,” the woman said, smiling meekly. That’s when I realized they probably hadn’t given thought to their behavior.
The topper, though, was when a coworker told me about a woman who squeezed passed others in line at a bank because she “was in a hurry.” The teller, perhaps attempting to remind her to take life slow, wrote on the back of the receipt, “Patience is a Virtue.” Suddenly, the woman had all the time in the world. She called for the manager and demanded the man be fired for his lack of judgment. He was.
Are we losing our sense that we’re all in this together? Would a “National Nice Week” even make a difference? Or would we be too busy to notice?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. But I do know that it still feels awfully good when someone smiles at me and wishes that I “Have a Nice Day.”
*Deanna R. Adams has been accused of being a “Pollyanna” and that’s just fine with her.