Mom and I were discussing cell phones and other etiquette conundrums.
Mom remarked that her geezer pals get up in arms when their spawn or grand-spawn take every cell phone call they receive, regardless of what else they’re doing or who they’re with. She’s also noticed that these same geezers can’t stand a ringing phone (landline or cell) and feel compelled to answer every call they received.
Her geezer crew is saying,in essence, “It’s rude when you take a call instead of letting it go to voicemail,but it’s polite when I show a caller the courtesy of taking a call instead of letting it go to voicemail.”
I thought this was a pretty astute observation. I had plenty time to think this because her phone started ringing in the middle of the conversation and she immediately took the call even though she knew it wasn’t important and didn’t even want to speak to the caller but she didn’t want to let it go to voicemail because that would be rude.
While I was sitting there waiting for mom to finish her conversation,I had time to think about a minor incident that happened once when we were at Target. The checkout lines were long. A woman and her developmentally disabled son were in the next line. The kid was asking his mom questions about everything in the impulse buy rack. There was nothing obnoxious or rude or loud about their polite conversation and it didn’t seem to be bothering anyone other than the two women in front of us.
As the wait dragged on,the women in front of us – who I came to think of as the Rabid Grannies – started talking about how their parents raised them properly and they had good manners and they would never have been obnoxious in public as a child in the 1960s because they knew how to behave.
I’m not sure why it’s so hard for people to understand that this kind of passive-aggressive nonsense is really the antithesis of good behavior. Their smug discussion was making everyone around them uncomfortable. My mom finally turned to me and remarked,”Have you ever noticed that the people who talk most about having good manners…usually don’t.”
What mom did was rude. It was passive-aggressive. It was also incredibly funny and it appeared to make the woman and her son feel better.
Thankfully more registers opened up,because I was afraid that mom and the Rabid Grannies were going to rumble if we stood there any longer.
What can I say? Mom and I never claimed to have good manners. You just can’t take some people anywhere.