Wednesday, April 9, 2008


So lately I've had experiences with rude people and I'm wondering, is this a national illness? a cultural fact of the East Coast (I grew up in the West where it was a known fact that Easterners are rude)? me being overly sensitive?

Exhibit A: E, Z and I were watching M at gymnastics. The twins grabbed a couple of books off the book rack for me to read. We read Peter the Puffin and then moved onto Dora the Explorer. As class neared the end, a woman and her 3 or 4-year-old wandered into the viewing room. It sounded like they're looking for something. She started saying, "Dora, Dora where are you." I assumed they had looked at the Dora book the previous week and now wanted to read it again. A few minutes later, she and her kid appeared at our side, taking the book out of E and Z's hands. "Do you mind?" She asked. "We're still reading it," I sputtered. "It's OUR book," she responded and swooped out of the room with daughter and book. Ohhh-kaaaay. I was completely taken-aback. Class ended five minutes later, M emerged from the gym and we rounded up his outdoor gear. The woman and girl were sitting on the stairs, reading the book. So, they hadn't been in a big rush to leave, and needed to get the book first. Just her daughter wanted the book NOW and so she made sure she got it, rather than saying something like, "Excuse me, just so you know, that's our book. Can you bring it out to the lobby when you're done reading it?"

Exhibit B: M, Z, E and I stopped at a small bakery for lunch in the middle of a zillion errands Saturday. The bakery has three tiny cafe tables--one tall one with two stools, and two low ones with a total of five chairs between them. Z, E and I positioned ourselves around one table, occupying three chairs and pretty much all the tabletop space. M sat at the other, even smaller table next to us. About 3/4 of the way through our lunch, a woman came over and said, "Excuse me, can you all sit together at one table so we can use this one?" M immediately got up, and she and her husband commenced to sit down at the two chairs, leaving M chairless. Before I even had a chance to process what was going on, a couple at the high table got up and said, "You can take this table; we're on our way out." So because they are kids, they don't deserve their own chairs?

Even at work, I've noticed people barrelling through doors, despite the fact that a pregnant woman, or the custodian with his arms full of trash bins, or anybody is coming through the other way. Are we just so consumed by spring fever that we have forgotten our manners? Do people take for granted that if you have kids with you, you are a second-class citizen? Am I just feeling overly sensitive or, worse, a sense of entitlement for special treatment because I have three kids?


  1. I am struck by this often. Here it seems that folks just put their heads down & barrel ahead in order to get to their place, what they need, etc. without thought or glance to others around. The drivers especially seem in such a rush (and darn rude!) that I often try to talk myself down when getting in my car. Stay calm. Stay calm.

    Yesterday, when pushing F on his trike a happy surprise-- a car STOPPED, yes, stopped for us when we were in the crosswalk, crossing the street. This rarely, if ever, happens. Only when it had driven by us did I notice-- oh, Maine plates. 'Splains that! So have a little hope for your state.

  2. It's a very self-centered outlook. I notice this in my students all too often; it worries me.

  3. you know, i always feel like everyone that i *know* isn't rude, and all the rude people happen to be people that i don't know. personally, that is. and i can't help but wonder if it has to do with living in community (or not). there is no accountability to people we don't know.
    but i suppose that doesn't account for all of us who make an effort not to be rude to people we don't know. oh well, that theory's blown. :)


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