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No One Stops To Say "Thank You" Anymore

(2011-09-03 11:52:54)


分类: EnglishLearning

   I am sitting in a local restaurant offering takeout homestyle meals,surrounded by exhausted but happy shoppers,families out for Friday night dinner,and students taking a break from college exams.The warm room buzzes with conversation.A well-known local homeless man-very untidy but clean-comes in,places an order,pays for it,then sits quietly waiting for his dinner.All talk stops.No one looks at him and several dinners leave.He is aware of the general discomfort his presence caused.When his takeout is ready,he gathers up his numerous bags and his dinner,laden down,advances to the door to go back to the street.Just as he reaches the door and begins to shift the bundles to free a hand,a well-dressed man coming to the restaurant steps aside and hold the door for him.The homeless man stops and says,"Thank you very much."

    What struck me about this encounter was not the wealthier man helping out the less fortunate one. It was the homeless man stopping to thank him despite being desperate to escape a room full of disaprroving people.No doubt he also thanked whoever had given him money to buy dinner. In line to buy my own meal,no one had thanked the young people behind the counter who dished up the mashed potatoes for them. Had I taken a poll of the room,though,I bet evryone there would considered themselves as having more manners tham a person who lives on the street.

    But how many of us are turely well-mannered ? Some observations have been surprising.

    When I let someone into my lane of traffic,men almost always acknowledge the courtesy with a wave of the hand;women(the 'polite'sex)hardly ever do.More women than men(the 'chivalrous'sex)hold open doors for those behind them;teenage boys commit this nicety the least.And I no longer see mothers instructing a child,boy or girl,to hold open a door when several people are approaching--something expected of all boys when I was growing up.

    Manners are a tool to remind us of others around us,our actions affect each other;there is always give and take.However,if youth today are any indication,we are truely to destined to become a society of people who tink only of themselves.Maybe it sounds cliche,but my parents would have killed me had I done some of the things I endure from today's youth.

   I never ran in public,much less betweem and around the legs of people in stores.One scream and I would have been taken to the car and lectured on my behavior.Whenever I was rude in public, I was made to apologize;my parents didn't do it for me.These embarrassing moments didn't harm me;rather,they caused to become aware that there were others inhabiting this world besides myself and my actions affected them.

    I have yet to receive an apology from a child who just ran over my foot while chasing a sibling,and only half of the time had the parents apologized.Often they simply gather up their children,making no eye contact,and take them to another part of the store to run around.If a child isn't made to deal with a minor situation, how will one ever handle a major faux pas(which we all inevitably commit at some point)?

   I have noticed that children are not even being schooled in social graces. At a sunday brunch,a clown was making balloon animals for the children.My friend's daughter,Sarah,stood by me waiting her turn.One by one the children grabbed their balloons and--yes--run.I was the only adult present who prompted "What do you say?"when the clown handed Sarah her balloon,The clown beamed at us,grateful he had actually been acknowledged.

    I don't blame the children,however.They emulate what they see,And what they are seeing is a society focused solely on acquisition--be it the dream house or another drink in a restaurant or a space on a crowed freeway--without ever stopping to thank the source.

    Rude language is now so commonplace that it is accepted behavior.And I'm now talking about the obviously blue vocabulary in books and movies,or that damn is considered harmless compared to what else has become acceptable.I'm referring to inconsiderate word choice.For example,while discussing a story idea with an editor,a very young staff member asked if I was the "chick"who had called for information.I said nothing,knowing that a show of displeasure would have labeled me oversensitive rather than him rude.

    Most people today feel proud to have built a society that treat the race,sexes,and economic classes more equally than ever before.And,yes,we have made real strides in these areas.But isn't it ironic that these same people don't find it necessary to say"Excuse me"to an older couple walking very slowly in front of them,before zooming around the couple?

   It's not necessary provide yet another analysis of the disintegration of the family or the breakdown of the social fabric or the price of democracy to explain what has happened to our society.The matter at hand is simply to thank the next person who provides a helping hand when needed.

   In a crowed world,manners are of vital importance.Small,friendly human interactions help ease the everyday stress of having to hurry,trying to squeeze onto a crowed thoroughfare,standing in one more line to deal with a clerk of some kind,or calling a customer service representative for a third time about a mistake on a bill.Manners make us aware that everything we have derives from a source.Are we really to presurred that we cannot stop to observe simple courtesy?


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