Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Common" courtesy?

You know EXACTLY what I'm talking about...

Those of you reading this who were born in the decades before cell phones, Internet, video games (I don't think "Pong" really counts) etc, who are in the same generation as Haime and/or me, OR, if you were raised by someone in this or preceding generations, then you should be able to fill in the blanks below without any thought:

>Someone smiles at you and says hello, you automatically ______________________________.

>You accidentally bump into someone, you automatically say _____________________________.

>You walk between two people having a conversation with each other (you only walk between these two people if there is NO other possible way to get where you need to get), you automatically say ____________________.

>You receive an invitation to a social gathering and there is a notation RSVP with a phone number, you automatically _____________________________.

>Someone gets in line directly behind you at the check out counter, you have a basket that is brimming over and could easily use an additional basket to keep your stuff from falling out of said basket, the other person has only a tube of tooth paste and a box of Kleenex, you automatically _______________________________.

OK, you get my drift. each of the things above have happened to us gazillions of times, they are probably, nearly daily occurrences. Most of us were raised to smile and say hello; to say excuse me; to RSVP when asked and let others go ahead of us when appropriate. GOOD GRIEF, WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED!

In case you missed it in my opening reference, these traits should not be confined to an age, race, education level, economic level or an area of the known (or unknown) universe. These used to be universal manners that were taught to each of us either at home or certainly in elementary school. Each of us was taught to BE NICE. Is it me, or have you also noticed, that many of the people we encounter on a regular basis are just not nice?

Let me share some examples from my week:

>You might remember from an earlier post that I recognized some "signs" that I should find a more conveniently located G.P. for routine physicals etc. I really loved my previous Doc but her schedule and her location were becoming increasingly difficult to coordinate with times I needed. So, I went in search of an new Doc. My requirements are pretty simple, I was looking for a female, close to my age and within 20 miles of my house. I became pretty spoiled with my previous Doc but I thought I had reasonable expectations. I scheduled my first appointment with the "new" Doc, I stopped by the office a week and a half prior to my appointment so I could sign the "release for records", and collect the "new patient" paperwork to complete prior to my appointed time. On the day of the scheduled visit, I arrived 15 minutes early. I had purposely scheduled the first appointment immediately after lunch because I get very irritated when I have to wait for a ridiculous amounts of time when I have made an appointment for a specific date/hour/minute. I understand that emergencies come up and good Dr.s are called to hospitals or spend a few extra quality minutes with their patients. I get that. So, I've learned that if I ask specifically for the first appointment of the day or the first after lunch, I am usually less likely to have to wait over an hour past the time I had scheduled. (Can you tell I've hit a personal nerve here?)

As I mentioned, I arrived about 15 minutes early. The office was still locked up with no lights problem, they were at lunch. At the appointed time, the lights came on and the door unlocked and I entered...along with two others. One of the others was there for a prescription refill and needed only to see the nurse and the other was there to see the Dr. I signed in, sat down and began reading a magazine. Soon, a  woman with three children came in, they needed flu vaccines and needed only to see the nurse. Both of the first two patients were called back and I read another article in the magazine. Then another patient came in to see the Dr.and a drug rep came in. I checked my watch...the family went back to get their shots. The drug rep left her card and departed. I read another article while the other patient was called back. 50 minutes after my scheduled appointment, I was finally called back. My blood pressure was checked, (only my good clean living and my close relationship with my maker kept the pressure in the cuff from causing said object from exploding in the face of the poor nurse); my height and weight recorded; and my medical history inquiry began. I have to say, the nurse was extremely nice and pleasant. Kudos to her.

Like most offices, the exam rooms in this office are not sound proof and the sounds of a conversation came easily into my room. I had met the receptionist (also very nice), and the nurse. The voice I heard did not belong to either of them. This "voice" was complaining about a phone conversation she had just had with someone. The specifics of the conversation were certainly not something that I needed to hear. However, in addition to that, it was the unprofessionalism so evident in the fact that this was taking place within hearing of other patients, including me. This "voice" was not being nice!

Then, yep, you guessed it, the "voice" walked into my room and introduced herself as the Doc...I'm still looking for a replacement.

>Perhaps the worst place for finding nice people though, is the grocery store. WTH! Am I the only one that gets weird looks when I say excuse me when I need to pass by someone who can't decide which brand of elbow macaroni they want to buy? Or when I have the audacity to apologize for inadvertently taking up too much of an aisle with my cart while I try and choose between the Atkins bar choices? I mean people are nearly weirded out!

So, since the only one we can control is the person that stares back at us from the mirror, Haime and I have agreed to be those people who go out of our way to "weird-people-out." We are gonna say "hi" and "howdy" to more people. We are gonna let people go ahead of us in the grocery store check out line when appropriate, we're gonna RSVP--TWICE to any social event to which we are invited. Mostly, we're not gonna "rag" on people (in public)'ll have to come over for a glass of wine for that one. Speaking of wine, I think I'm gonna have to stock up, because all this "going-over-the-top-niceness" is probably going to drive me to drink. (Just kidding).



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