I've been on a long-time rant. You may have read part of it on my post: "'Common' courtesy?" whereby I began my rant. Well, it continues. I am constantly reminded of our societal lack of courtesy, manners and general niceness to each other. However, I think I've discovered a possible cause...bear with me here, but, you might want to pick up a copy of James Patterson's novel, Zoo. Now, wait, stop rolling your eyes, hear me out. In this novel, for those that have not read it, our hero, Jackson Oz, (no relation to the land of the same name, with the yellow-brick roads), discovers the reason for animals exhibiting an exponential increase in violence on humans. The reason is actually pretty simple, it's a human cause. Specifically, "electromagnetic radiation and the by-products of petroleum."
Well, what if the rude behavior demonstrated by servers at drive-through windows, or the repugnant driver who cuts you off to "steal" the parking space you have been waiting for, or the contemptible clerk who's job is supposed to be to "help" you with a purchase, are just acting out because of physiological changes in their brains, caused by pollutants in the environment? Could it be more than the question of whether people are born with certain behavioral traits or tendencies or whether these are learned? The science-lover part of me wonders about the cause and effect of such things as genetics, surroundings, birth order, poverty levels, environmental pollutants, educational levels of caregivers etc on our young. The member of the consumer-public part of me, that is so increasingly frustrated with having to interact with discourteous others, is finding myself becoming more reliant on electronic and Internet-based communication and purchasing, just to avoid dealing with unmannerly people.
Lord knows, I am not perfect, FAR from it! I have a tendency to use very colorful language at times, I do not suffer fools well, and I don't like large crowds. However, I have learned a few things in my old age. I do not use "extremely profane" language in public, I tend to avoid fools when I can, and if I can't, I try to keep my hands and mouth busy...large amounts of alcohol usually do the trick, and I just avoid places where there are going to be thousands of amateur drunks. But, what if, by avoiding interacting with people, I am also adding to the problem?
Recently, I told a couple of friends that I had realized the path to my next, (OK, first), million...I would create a company that would conduct "mandatory customer service" training to all managers and employees who interact with "Joe Public." (I've actually taught these "classes" several times during my administrator days in my previous life, with excellent results.) But, then, since these behaviors, in my experience, are becoming more and more "common," maybe I'm in the minority. Could it be that since I am retired and no longer spend most of my days surrounded by large numbers of "others," that I am just becoming ultra-sensitive to "perceived" abhorrent behaviors? What do you think?