Saturday, June 04, 2011

On Manners and the Lack Thereof

I'm not fond of bad manners in anyone (including myself) but what really gets under my skin are grown men who act badly. I seem to run into these types most often in Chilean grocery stores. One case in point happened a few years ago at Christmastime.

I was standing in line for gift wrapping and had been patiently waiting for my number to be called. At the same time I was trying to pacify my squalling niece who was sitting less than patiently in the shopping cart. My turn was next, and just as I began moving forward an older gentleman (not that he deserved the term) cut in front without a number and handed his gift to the clerk. I was so stunned at his rudeness that I could not even stammer a complaint! In my book, true gentleman defer to ladies and all the more if they have young children in tow.

However, apparently not everyone shares my definition because yesterday it happened to me again. This time, I was in the grocery store and waiting in line at the only working ATM machine (the other two were out of order.) Ian was hanging onto one of my hands and Alec was hanging onto my other. I remained a few steps behind the woman before me, as per ATM etiquette of not looking over someone's shoulder while they punch in private bank information. Apparently those few steps were enough of a distance for a nicely dressed middle aged man to cut right in front of me and my boys!

Again, I was startled and unbelieving. Only this time I did something about it! As the woman began to move away from the machine and the "gentleman" began to approach it, I simply grabbed my boys' hands more firmly, scooted around the man, and planted myself in front of the blinking screen. He said not a word (evidence that he knew he was in the wrong) and neither did I. Once the transaction was completed, I walked away without a second glance.

It was Ian who resurrected my faith in man's potential to be mannerly a short while later. The little boys and I were headed into the older kids' school (with the aformentioned ATM cash) to pay their tuition bill, and Alec had run far ahead. Ian was on his heels until he suddenly stopped and wheeled around saying, "Wait! Wait for Mommy!" Then he stood in place with his hand outstretched until I reached him. We walked hand in hand into the school and I couldn't help but feel very proud of my little man.

Because at least he knows how to treat a lady. :)


Terri Fisher said...

What a great little boy...he's learning!

Carrie said...

Found your blog through (in)courage (at least I think that is where! haha)

I live in Guatemala, and the same things have happened to me here. It drives me crazy too!