Saturday, January 15, 2011

Whatever: National referendum on politeness

There are lots of things that puzzle me as an adult.

The fact that some people really like driving mini vans. Scotch does not take like the caramel that I thought it would when I imagined drinking it as a teenager. Jeans are so hard to find, that I have pretty much given up. My house is never clean longer than 30 minutes after I spend an entire day cleaning it. Things that were okay to talk about in your twenties, are taboo when  you are in your thirties or older. Politeness is really, really hard and truly almost a lost art.

I will never (knock on wood) drive  mini van. I personally think that they are not safe. I drink wine and occasionally, especially on vacation, vodka. Jeans...I can't even talk about them. Same with the house. Taboo subjects: politics, how much money you make/don't make, who is having an affair with whom, who is a drunk, etc. basically anything that is uncomfortable. Politeness...well, let's just say it's a struggle.

I don't care what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall on, mostly because I think for the most part we all are the same. We all want to be healthy, have a good job, education for our kids, and safety in our communities.

There is nothing to be gained by screaming or bullying. We tell our toddlers not to throw fits, but use their words. But as adults, we choose to not use words with each other. I cannot have a conversation with my friends with whom I don't see eye to eye about the wrongs in our country.Why is that? In my twenties, I was passionate about politics. I would rise to any challenge. However, now, I am hesitant to even reveal my thoughts to anyone. How have we gotten here? Why can't we talk about what we all are facing? Insane debt, an environment that is quickly turning hostile, a generation that sees war as something of an after thought to everyday life, people losing their homes, insurance that will soon be a luxury for everyone but the wealthy, we all are facing these things. Why is it taboo to discuss our feelings and thoughts about them?

Are we being polite? I don't think so. Politeness is waiting for someone to finish talking before you speak (which I am terrible at). Politeness is considering another person's feelings before your own. It's "please" and "Thank you" and holding doors. Mostly, it is having good manners and following etiquette.It is agreeing to disagree, not not speak of it because we disagree.

  As a mom, I try everyday to instill politeness in my kids. I also try to practice it. But, it is exhausting. It is hard to always think of others first, and I fail terribly sometimes. I have gone off on "rude" sales people (pot, meet kettle) and  fellow shoppers who have run into my children in their hurry to get their shopping done. I find it a vicious circle.  However, if we had more politeness in our country, we would probably have less screaming and more dialogue. Less road rage and more cars waving each other on at stop signs. Less irritation during the holidays. More letter writing and less "cross hairs" maps. More compromise and less " MY WAY or THE HIGHWAY".

I think that if everyday people like me,  you, your mom, my sister and our neighbor actually spoke about the "taboo" subjects politely we could solve them. Then, in turn, if our leaders would be as polite and actually listen, we could have all the issues solved by then end of the decade. Nine years to solve our problems? If we are lucky. If only I could find a great pair of jeans by then....

1 comment:

  1. Do you know that I absolutely love LOVE love minivans. I've wanted one ever since high school.

    It's a room on wheels. Party all the time!