We’ve become a nation of obnoxious, rude people.
I see it on the streets. Cars swerve and skirt around others cars. Drivers yell obscenities and make crude gestures I’m glad my son doesn’t yet understand. I sit behind the wheel and fume, careful to keep it to myself because the last thing I need is for road rage to kill me the way it did the man in the news, where his murder was witnessed by his eleven-year-old daughter.
I see it in the stores. Restaurants, retail–it’s all the same: customers demand without manners. They shove to get to the register first and then treat employees like last night’s leftovers. At Starbucks, voices rise and patrons spit out things like, “I said I wanted it heated to 150 degrees. This is not 150 degrees – do it over!” Of course, the demands may vary, but the tone and body language are always the same.
I see it on TV. Shows like Bridezillas market the idea that rude, obnoxious people are funny and make money.
I see it in Little League, where grown men scream, punch, throw objects and kick, like toddlers having tantrums, because their son hasn’t proven their manhood by being the best.
Perhaps it’s always been this way. My father used to say this was a “primero yo, segundo yo, tercero yo” world–first me, second me, third me. I didn’t believe him then. I thought he was overly sensitive in his old age.
But now I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s just South Florida. Maybe it’s a big-city thing. Regardless, this is the world in which my son is growing up, and it scares me. I worry that no amount of “please” or “thank you” or of modeling behavior will save him from these rude, obnoxious people.