Wednesday 12 July 2017

Essential Snobbery 101: Simply respecting others

For all that is simply human
In this modern age where technology has become such a distraction that certain elements of human interaction are lost to engagement with electronic devices, one could be forgiven for the sense of shock that overwhelms when strangers are encountered.
By this I mean, certain generational shifts have deprived people of the richness of communication in facial expression, the art of conversation, use of language and if one were not to be too greedy the finesse of politeness.
Already, I might be considered old-fashioned, for the simple reason that I do put my electronic devices away when I am walking the streets, definitely would never be looking at a device when I am crossing the road, I never wear earphones in both ears to deprive me of the perception of my environment.
People are everything
When I meet people, I want to engage with people, my electronic device does not have to be a part of the crowd. We diminish our necessary heightened sense of perception and spatial awareness when we ignore our surroundings to concentrate on the world of our electronic devices that we become oblivious and endangered.
People forget they are standing in the way because they have not developed the communal skill of consideration and presence, the concept of knowing that a public space is, in fact, public, requiring possession and allowance in equal measure, being aware of what is in front and around you, just in case you walk into someone, a ditch or a pole.
Sadly, some have walked into harm and fatality just because they had become unaware of the dangers around them, hoping they could pass that responsibility on to others when each individual is responsible for how they access a public space.
Treat strangers politely
However, what irks me most is those who completely without greeting, introduction, conversation, or acquaintance arrogate to themselves an entitlement to ask personal and private questions expecting answers.
I would be too stunned to react in any useful way to such rudeness. Much I have excused that behaviour from the highly fed and lowly taught of recent times, who probably know no better, it is completely inexcusable of those of my generation. Maybe I am being nostalgic for an era that only existed in my imagination, but I am tempted to believe there was an age of politeness, very middle-class and conforming in many ways.
The simple old ways
You covered your mouth when you coughed or yawned and covered your nose too, hopefully with a handkerchief when you sneezed. In acknowledging those around you, even as you succumbed to the involuntary acts of nature, like belching, farting or bumping into someone your minor social violations suggest you ask for forgiveness expressing regret and you will be acknowledged with respect.
Respect, that is the due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others, it has all become something of a rarity, we begin to wonder whether social graces were never taught or people just feel too entitled to be bothered about others. It is not something I understand at all.
Yet, we must remind ourselves on occasion that we are social beings and hope that the better side of our humanity would not be lost to the passing of the times.

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