Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Is 'abracadabra' the new magic word? (Or: Where are our manners?)

"We're moving to the country to raise llamas," I announced to my family the other day. "We are going to start living a slow, simple lifestyle."

My husband hurriedly grabbed his breakfast and scurried down to his office, not at all eager to discuss my new edict.

My son barely looked up from his iPod, but I thought I saw him roll his eyes.

My daughter, getting milk from the refrigerator, paused thoughtfully. "I don't think you want to raise llamas," she said. "I think you might be thinking of alpacas - I hear they're nicer. Llamas spit."

Well that's just great. Spitting. It's that kind of behavior that's pushing me to my isolated country home in the first place. See, I just decided the other day I couldn't take it anymore.

You know what I mean:

  • The angry guy behind you who honks as soon as the light changes.
  • The receptionist who cuts you off mid-sentence.
  • The driver who practically takes off your front bumper as she cuts into your lane.
  • The surly customer service guy who has absolutely no interest in customer service.

The complete and utter lack of civility.

You know, my son wanted a cookie the other day; I asked him for the magic word. He said "Abracadabra." He might be right. Because I think all the other ones have been forgotten.

In a previous job, I was standing by a bank of elevators when the doors opened and a young woman got out, a little unsteady on her feet. She smiled shakily at me, and told me she'd just given blood at the blood drive downstairs.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Sure," she said.

 Then she took a few wobbly steps and collapsed like a sack of potatoes - down for the count. Not two seconds later, a manager came zipping down the hallway at breakneck speed, his eyes intent on his mobile phone. I'm not making this up - he STEPPED OVER HER and continued down the hall.

Wow. Not good.

Hey, let's change that, you and me. Let's make behavior like that unacceptable. Let's say please and thank you, chew with our mouths closed  and help little old ladies across the street.

Let's bring back niceness. At least a little of it.

Because really, I'm not too sure about the whole alpaca thing. Not yet, anyway.

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