If You Feel So Inclined… A Rant

book, character, chivalry, courtesy, protagonist, Random, rant, writing
What ever happened to chivalry? More importantly, what ever happened to common courtesy?

I’m sure the “me, me, me” attitude extends across the entire globe, and not everyone has been bitten by this deadly mosquito. I certainly hope I have not been.

I always try to say, not just “Thanks”, but “thank you very much”. Because what is it to say those extra three words?

What I specifically speak about is an incident that inspired me to write this little blog post.

My husband dropped me off out front of Tim Horton’s to get us some coffees because the drive-through line was quite long. Well, as it turned out, so was the line inside. At the back of the line, I was standing right in front of the door. And I thought, heck, I’m doing nothing better, why not open the door for the people that are passing me? So that’s what I did. Each person that walked past, I held the door open for them. What would you know, they all looked at me as if I had grown three heads. I just laughed it off and said, “I’m doing nothing better here, am I?” and they all seemed to appreciate the small gesture (probably wondering back in their car what the heck had just happened).

I ended up leaving Tim’s with two coffees and three bags of donuts (no, we don’t eat like that all the time). My hands were full, to say the least, not to mention that I had my wallet in my hand. The line was still backed up to the door, and a woman in her forties stood there just looking around as she waited.

As I walked past her to the door, she WATCHED me, WATCHED me struggle with the door 5 inches away from her, push my way out backwards, almost spilling coffee all over myself, and WATCHED me fumble with the next door.

And I ask you, what the hell was she doing that was any better that she could not lend a hand to a fellow civilian of Earth? She clearly knew that I was there, because she followed me with her eyes, made eye contact as I passed with a polite smile. But no kind gesture, because, I guess, many humans now feel they are ABOVE such actions.

Is it that the invention of technology has thrust our minds into “multitask” mode 95% of the day, so they we are now all “too busy” to help fellow man out once in a while, or has everyone become so involved in themselves (Facebook, Twitter, you name it, we all think we have some glorious interesting tidbit of information to tell–like what kind of jam toast we are eating) that no one sees there is a world outside of themselves?

I’m not saying I am perfect, but my parents taught me to open the doors for others, to always say thank you and you’re welcome (not “Sure”), and furthermore, my job as a travel agent in a small family run business has further taught me the need for GREAT customer service (because in the end, you’re not going to book a trip with someone that treats you badly). That means smiling at the guy you know is going to cause you trouble, regardless of how you feel.

I don’t think one should have had to work in the service industry to understand the need to follow certain social conventions. I think we all KNOW we should follow them, but simply cannot find the time in our busy days to act on them. Meanwhile the average person watches 4.5 hours of television per day. Figure that one out.

If we ourselves cannot find the time to open the door for someone, or to give that little extra, how can the characters in our books seem like good people? Do we write our protagonist opening doors for others, or giving that extra? Or do we completely forget to include such actions and write it off as “not important”? If I read that the character has done something nice for a stranger, (just throw it in somewhere and see how it works), my respect for them has increased tenfold.

Anyways, that’s my rant. If you have not already, do something nice for a stranger today. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a stranger. Just do something nice for someone. A smile is contagious, but so is a frown.

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