Rude, so rude!

People can't seem to quiet at the movies or in the theatres --it's so rude!Has any one else noticed how rude the world has become? It is as if civility is dying a slow and painful death. A few years ago I would have been convinced that feeling this way was a sign of age. Now I know it can’t be true because some of the rudest people I encounter are senior citizens. I have grown to dread the site of seniors at movies. I swear, if 40 is the new 20, then 70 is the new 13 – at least in a in a dark movie theatre. We regularly suffer seniors talking loudly among themselves, oblivious to anyone else around them. Granted, not all seniors behave this way; my friends in this age group would be appalled. But it happens way too often.

Rudeness seems to afflict both ends of the age spectrum in weird ways. Many of my friends report having their seats kicked by small children in theatres and on planes, as the kids’ parents watched. When my friends complained, they were glared at, yelled at, or ignored by the parents! I am speechless. Elizabeth Hasselbeck of The View confessed “you’re tired and it’s tempting to let other people entertain your children for awhile”. Sorry Elizabeth. That is not acceptable.  If you need help, get a nanny because the world is not your baby-minder. Not everyone agrees, but like Barbara Walters, I think there should be “a parents and under-12 section" on every flight, with children’s entertainment and amenities.
I want to know when the ‘mommy matinees’ expanded to be bring your crying baby and chatty children to any old movie you like. Babies do not belong at movies, except for those mommy matinees. Children do not belong at any movies but those made for them. Taking them to adult films is unfair to them and to the rest of the audience who a paid a steep price to see a film in peace. I fault the selfish parents and the greedy and careless theatre owners. It horrifies me to see young children watching gory movies and clearly adult content.
And while on the subject bad behavior at the movies, are people who text during films so obtuse they don’t realize it distracts and bothers others? Shut your phone off or go to the lobby. I was disappointed when Tyra Banks confessed to this offense on her show about rude behavior, and then did not promise to stop. Knock it off Tyra. It is rude and annoying.
I am always flummoxed and annoyed when anyone pays upwards of $100 to hear themselves talk. But when they talk during a Broadway show, the opera, or a concert, that is what they are doing – and they are talking over my pricy ticket, too.  
They text everywhere -- it is so rude!This happens to us while attending shows in Atlanta all the time. The frustration is compounded by the fact that theaters here allow people to be seated late, bring in refreshments, and do not enforce order – even at the symphony. We saw a wonderful production of South Pacific recently. As the orchestra played the overture, the audience got louder and louder. Maybe they though it was Muzak – not a memorable medley of some of Broadway’s most famous show-stoppers. What must the musicians have thought? An overture is an integral part of the show, an interlude that sets the mood. This one evoked the zephyrs of a tropical paradise, tempered by the storms of prejudice. The audience should have listened to it and enjoyed it – not their cell phones. I never thought I would see adults behave so badly. Behaviour at the symphony hall for a famous performer was even worse as it continued throughout she show. They should be ashamed, but I am sure it happens elsewhere too.
When did people get so rude? It may sound silly, but people behaved better when they dress better. When people come to the theatre dressed in shorts and jeans these days, they act as if they are at a clambake. There was less of this type of rowdiness when people dressed up for an occasion.
I am sad to say, I choose restaurants where I know there will not be families because too many people today do not teach their children to behave like civilized beings. They can’t say seated or modulate their voices. Don’t think that I dislike children; I have always enjoyed my friend’s children and they enjoy being at my home. Their parents raised them to “behave in company”. How quaint that expression sounds, but how vital it is to being a welcome guest, at any age. Arriving on time, making pleasant conversation, and not asking "who else is coming" before accepting an invitation along with a prompt RSVP are all things I never thought I’d see as rare and special. Alas, these days, they are charming and rare, as well as the mark of a lady, gentleman, and desired guest.
I campaign constantly for the use of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but politeness and civility is more than mere words and meaningless convention. It is courtesy and consideration for others. True civility is spreading a little charm around to soften the harsh edges of the daily grind.


Life can be annoying, frustrating, and stressful. Some days it can even be heartbreaking. It’s tempting when confronted with rude, nasty people to fight back, snap and snarl, and go ballistic! But then they win. Let’s be kind. Complain in a civil manner, but do fight back. Write letters, it works – well, often it does. Be dogged in demanding civility and good service – vote with your dollar! That does work. Above all my darlings, be kind. Life is short, so let’s make it sweet! Also Happy Canada Day July 1st and Happy July 4th! 

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Gracey Hitchcock
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