Monday, March 31, 2014

Inconsiderate People ~ My column from Sunday's paper

As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I’m slow to anger, but standing in line at a fast-food restaurant recently an inconsiderate young woman in front of the line pushed me over the edge.

She was chatting on her cellphone while the order-taker stood there tapping keys waiting to take the talker’s order. Instead of telling the person on the phone to hold on while she ordered, she held up her index finger, which apparently was a sign to the cashier to wait while she finished chatting with her friend. 

It was lunchtime, and the place was packed. I’m sure the blood pressure of the five people standing with me behind the woman surged to dangerous levels.

I could have had a stroke standing right there, and I’m sure she would have been unmoved until the sirens of the rescue squad became so loud that she could no longer hear about her friend’s date last night. 

The cashier finally said, “Next in line please.” This got the woman’s attention and she told her friend she’d have to call back and then dropped her phone into her purse. She was obviously annoyed at the lack of patience of the cashier. I felt like clapping. I’m not sure where that sense of entitlement comes from. 

It’s like when there’s been a wreck on the highway and some yahoo drives down the emergency lane to get ahead of drivers who are patiently waiting to get around the accident. 

Apparently the inconsiderate driver thinks his or her time is more important than yours. 

I don’t get it. Where did that idea come from? Is that something they learned at home?

I can promise you it’s not a trait I learned growing up. In fact, if my mother had seen me being unkind or inconsiderate, she would have blazed my bottom. She simply would not have allowed it.

But even then, in the late 50s and early 60s there were selfish, inconsiderate people. 

They were the ones who cheated, bullied, cut in front of you in the lunch line and made sure you got the short end of the stick in any dealings you had with them.

You learned to acknowledge them for what they were, and you gave them a wide berth. Life is too short to have someone like that too close.

One of the benefits of getting older is that I’ve developed a kind of antenna and filter system. I have the ability to recognize people that grate like squeaking chalk on the blackboard of my psyche, and I can simply avoid them as if they had whooping cough. 

I guess it was serendipity that our young friend Laken Laird sent me a link to a song by the Alternate Routes that she thought I’d like.

I actually love the song, but I doubt our inconsiderate talker would understand it.

“We are love.

“We are one.

“We are how we treat each other when the day is done.

“We are peace.

“We are war.

“We are how we treat each other and nothing more.”


  1. Love those lyrics! And by the way, you sound like me and my husband, who also uses the expression yahoos, so I had to smile as I read. One thing though, and it may just be years of teaching high school,...I would have walked up to her, tapped her on the shoulder, and said calmly, "Seriously? (pause for effect) Do you actually think you are important enough to hold up this line?" That's usually when my husband is holding me back because he's afraid someone like this young woman would haul off and hit me! I understand how you wouldn't believe how some young people talk to teachers these at least attempt to if not stopped!

  2. I can relate to so much of what you say! On the topic of mobile phones - why is it that some folk find it necessary to share the details of their private lives and social arrangements with the rest of a railway carriage? At the risk of sounding my age, there is certainly less respect these days. I wonder, too, whether we each slip into roles: at the oment I'm a pedestrian; next, I could be a cyclist or motorist. If you see what I mean.

  3. I love the words to that song Rick, we are how we treat each other and nothing more... very thought provoking. . .

    I too am with you about rude people, I am like you, I usually steer clear of people who do their best to be negative all the time... but those inconsiderate people seem to be everywhere. I don't know how people got to the point of thinking they are entitled over others...

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  5. Good read. Enjoyed it. You had me right there in line!!!! Traveling all the time I have finally became tolerant of the folks who will risk car and their paint jobs to be one car ahead of someone else.....

  6. rolling my eyes....some people live in their own little world...I can almost guarantee she would have been the loudest complainer if the shoe was on the other foot. Good did get a good blog post out of her. :)

  7. Oh, first auto accidents and now heart ache in restaurant? I thought that cell phones were supposed to make life easier.

  8. Excellent post Rick. I hate people who can't put their phones down in public places. Rude.

  9. Great post! I have no idea where that sense of entitlement comes from, but it's frustrating when you encounter people with that attitude. I have a feeling they're used to getting their way, and maybe no one has taught them otherwise, or told them 'no' or 'get over it' or 'it's not all about you'. I'm also hard to anger, but these types of people get under my skin.


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