A Litmus Test

“Pardon? I had some trouble hearing you, please repeat, sir”, I uttered to some drunken guy in a restaurant lobby. He simply yelled back at me to “move”; it appeared that this man left his ‘pleases’ and ‘thank you’s’ at home along with his respect for women, and also, a clean shirt. In the home that I was raised, sitting down at the table, even for a coffee, meant napkins were immediately placed on our laps, elbows were never to touch the table, and it was imparted on us millions of times that my mother was not a servant who worked for us: we were to always assist in clearing and setting. Respect, manners and awareness of other people’s physical spaces and emotions have been so deeply engrained in my being that I recently conducted a litmus test to see if manners really are dead.

*** I’ll be straying from the 3 f’s: food, fitness and fashion for today to focus on something that actually must be considered as universal: manners. And yes, while I will always adhere to the ALWR notion that different talents and abilities and customs will differ from person to person and from location to location, one specific topic must always resonate with a heightening power,  and must include and everyone as universal: POLITENESS, COURTEOUSNESS, RESPECTFULNESS… ***

I have paid close attention to people’s general habits and what appear to be, not-so-courteous, rather selfish natures over the last few years, as the concept of manners must grow increasingly more and more important to us as a society. Taking strict note, more people than not will push others out of the way to get on the bus first, make a path for only their umbrella in a small alleyway in the pouring rain, and rarely stand to let someone else sit in a doctors waiting room who may, or even may not, need to sit more.

Over the course of the last few weeks, my stomach has really started to grow, transforming into an obtrusive, circular indicator that I am VISIBLY 5 months PREGNANT! As part of my ongoing assessment, the one where I “keep an eye out” for the lack of manners or chivalry that exist in today’s society and world, I decided to kick my experiment up a notch, taking note of whether or not people’s behaviors would change towards a pregnant woman. And, while all of us should be treated equally and respectfully, I began to wonder if the passionate, somewhat vehement act of “shoving my belly in people’s faces” might be able to help break the patterns that exist today, if at all….

  • Grocery Store Test: will the bagger help me to do her job?
    • Middle-aged grumpy woman never helps customers bag their groceries
    • Pre-checkout I opened my winter coat to expose my belly, letting it do the talking
    • Bagger plays with her mobile phone and doesn’t lift a finger, kindly permitting me do the heavy lifting and bagging for her, all-the-while making me lean over the counter to grab the plastic bags for bagging
  • Public Transportation Test: will people stand to let a pregnant woman sit down?
    • Morning bus overflowing with people
    • Husband and I enter, searching for two open seats together, or one seat for myself, at least
    • Out of around 45 people on the bus: it was one elderly woman offers me her seat
  • Elevator Test: will people let me exit without trampling me?
    • Early morning hours: elevator rush is like subway rush
    • Lobby entered and I must
    • One man nearly tramples over me, knocking into my stomach to enter before letting me exit and yes, he actively stares at my stomach

Although in the aforementioned test cases, the results were all unfortunate, even negative and sad, we should not be deterred: my examples should serve as what not-to-do’s, and serve as a jumping off point to prove what must lie ahead of us, honing in on the one universal that should exist our world: manners. Manners, respect for others, the act of being timely and so many more adjunct themes must reign supreme, so that people can make a mental note and carry forth, doing the right thing always, towards everyone, for not just those who require extra assistance deserve this lovely treatment day in and day out.

xoxo,

Becca

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