Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Problem of Rude

As I sat on the bus yesterday on the way home from work, the long, tedious, though strangely uncrowded, bus, I had occasion to ponder rudeness. 

Don't be "that guy."
This opportunity was presented to me by the tattooed Hispanic woman who boarded midway to my destination.  She had her phone on speaker and was discussing her dog loudly with her phone companion.  She seemed very worked up about what I could only partially gather was a not infrequent (or unwelcome "go ahead, I said, call them.  I don't give  a @&*$") visit from the police.  Apparently her neighbor decided her dog was too loud or too menacing or something (I lost focus after the fifth or sixth f-bomb). 

Most people seem to get on board the bus in a heated conversation, but gradually wind down when they realize they're in close quarters with others.  However, this woman seemed immune from the "are you really doing that here" stare.  I contemplated saying something to the effect of "Excuse me, shut up," but decided I was too sleepy to deal with the threatening attitude she was likely to exhibit. 

Part of the problem?
It did get me wondering, though, when do you become part of the rudeness problem?  If I had confronted her, it seems improbable that she would have backed down meekly, so I would have probably created a bigger fuss than her annoying conversation filled with cursing.  Still, I often feel that we all let rudeness slide when we should point out to people that it is unacceptable.  We now live in an age where we don't blink when people exhibit bad manners.  It is common to see people put their bags or coats on the seat next to them so no one can sit there, to watch kids sitting in the disabled seating not move when a hunched little old woman gets on the bus, to experience inconsiderate drivers at least once on any car trip, and to be subjected to people talking loudly on cell phones in public (to highlight but a few common examples of boorish behavior).

"Bad girl."
I know it is just as impolite to call someone out on their rudeness; however, it feels like we've reached a point where people are often rude because they don't even realize that their actions are inconsiderate.

Maybe if more of us call people on their inconsiderate actions they would happen less.  I don't think I'm ready to be confronted about my failure to RSVP though.


  1. I completely agree! It amazes me when I run into someone who's lack of respect for other people in general is just unnecessary. Though I will say that generally for every "bad egg" out there, there is a better person willing to open the door for a mom with a stroller or lend a hand when I need it most. Oh, and I'm right there with you on the RSVP...for someone who is so OCD, you'd think I'd be more on top of this one! :)

  2. I agree, Hanna! I don't think people get it, and sometimes it becomes a vicious cycle, especially in families and with kids when they see that type of behavior with their parents. I also agree with Brandi; it is very refreshing to see those people who are so nice and helpful too, and the more we can be like them, the more difference we can make:)

  3. This is something I struggle with as well, are we supposed to let it slide and ignore the rude behavior or should we call them out because people can't fix it if they don't know its a problem. Either way its uncomfortable for somebody.