I have a real problem with manners. Or perhaps more to the point I have a real problem with manners and the lack thereof, especially within my group of (alleged) friends. And maybe it’s just because I am getting crotchety in my dotage but it does seem to me that more and more people … and I mean people in my age group … have lousy, non-existent, just-common-sense-but-apparently-not manners. I’m not talking about teenagers enjoying the full throes of self-absorption. I’m not talking about saying please, thank-you notes, holding doors open or bringing wine when you come for dinner. I’m talking about manners much more basic. And ones that take very little energy to execute.
Case in point: I just did a jazz gig a few nights ago and as I sat at the bar before we started playing, organizing my music and taste-testing some wine (who me?), I witnessed two parties of four get turned away at the door. That equals eight people denied the opportunity to share the festive season in a convivial atmosphere because said convivial atmosphere was sold out and these eight hapless souls didn’t have reservations. Sorry folks – sold out. Except it actually wasn’t. Because six of my (alleged) friends who said they were coming did not. They didn’t call the restaurant to cancel. They just informed the other people in their party at the eleventh hour and that was that. Can you imagine the restaurant owner’s frustration? Turning away paying customers when they could have in fact, you know … paid, because you decided you weren’t gonna? Well … that’s just rude. Okay, now I know you’re going to moan at me that you didn’t make the reservation, therefore it’s not your responsibility to cancel it. Even your portion of it. Grow up. Whoever made that reservation is not your damn secretary. Just let the restaurant know.
I guess what really stings (me) is that these were not random cancel-ers. They were all (alleged) friends of mine who apparently didn’t foresee the consequences of their last-minute (non)actions.
Now don’t get me wrong. I know people get sick and the festive season is busy and shit just happens. I get it. But for Pete’s sake call the restaurant. Especially since you know the restaurant is small and typically busy and someone else just might want your seat.
Here’s another one. Party invitations. Last time I checked, RSVP means respond please. It does not mean respond only if you’re coming. It means respond please. Aye or nay. And if there is a cut-off date offered, it means please respond aye or nay by that date. It all seems pretty simple to me. I am however, apparently mistaken, because I continue to be shocked by the number of my (alleged) friends who can’t seem to find the time to respond to a party invitation. And I’m not talking new, freshly-served, cut-them-some-slack friends. I am talking long-time pals, some virtually lifelong. I guess they reckon I will understand. They probably think last-minute is fine and they will decide the night of. Perhaps they surmise that no response means no, they are not coming. Perhaps they don’t understand a lick of french and believe RSVP stands for Really Screw Vickie when Possible? I don’t have a clue. And apparently neither do they.
And then there’s that new modern (in)convenience – texts and emails. And those delightful manner-less chumps who find it impossible to respond in a timely fashion. I don’t get that either. I know everyone is super-duper busy and we all have our priority totem poles and maybe I’m just at the bottom of every single body’s? Indeed, my own son is one of the worst perpetrators of text-ignoring (although I can usually mama-guilt him into an eventual reply). And in my own defense I will submit that I am not a non-stop texter. Nor am I a conversational texter. I text when I need to know something or need to share something. And I respond to the same in a timely fashion. I adore my friends who do likewise and I simply shake my head at those who don’t. Because I don’t get it.
Like I said, maybe I’m just becoming a cantankerous old curmudgeon. Maybe expecting good manners is old-fashioned. Maybe I entertain too often and maybe I am overly inclusive? Maybe I just expect too much of the human race? Maybe I need to cull some friends? Maybe everyone I know is far busier than I am and maybe it’s not their fault cause they never got learned no fricking manners?
And maybe – just maybe – I believe in that golden rule. You know, that do unto others thingy. And therefore I live it. Maybe it’s just that simple.
My darling ex-husband used to call this common decency. Just live your life with common decency. I applaud him for that.
There. My rant is over. As it turns out, I don’t feel any better. I feel sad and disappointed.
Stay tuned. I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a wild and bumpy ride …