Good manners and right conduct #PetPeeveStories

They teach that to us when we’re kids. In school, at home, in family gatherings…good manners and right conduct are the platforms that spell the difference on how well bred we are.

Rudeness is a sign of bad breeding. How you treat your fellow men, colleagues, family and friends is a reflection of how well bred you are. Of course, we can always casually throw that concept to the wind. For some, it would be pointless to talk about morals when power is at their disposal.

Then there are also those who are plain and simple – bullies! They will never accept responsibility and accountability. At all! You see them in school, at home, at work, and yes, even in social media. The latter have identities hidden as “trolls”. These are “fake” people in the true sense of the word. They will bash others and think only of themselves when the going gets rough. They will put down other people when they are caught in a corner when they cannot escape their web of lies. Their survival depends not on what is right and just, but on what their needs are. Just look at how some “people” rudely respond to comments on social media posts in general. Bash and trash has never been this popular. Long has the concept of, “if you have nothing better to say, just keep quiet“, been forgotten.

Breeding is an important backbone of the worth of an individual. You may have finished from a reputable school, but your true colors show when and how you deal with people. As the saying goes,

You can take the boy out of the county but you can’t take the county out of the boy.

Psychology Today published a report giving several indicators of those suffering from narcissistic rage.

– inability to apologize, or to do it sincerely

– showing or feeling no remorse for their actions

– quick to rage when you humiliate them

– rarely saying “thank you”

– quick to becoming aggressively defensive if you call them on any deficiency, fault, or responsibility.

I’m quite sure we all have personal experiences with this kind of people. The insecurity a narcissist feels means they have to show strength and power to make themselves feel stable. As Danny Wallace puts it briefly and correctly, people who are rude by nature are not only because they are insecure, but brittle.

The rage, the anger, the rudeness is all unleashed when – the way a wounded animal becomes more vicious as it realizes it needs to survive – the narcissist feels under attack and that the next insult may be the one to finish them off.

So they get in there first. They react in the moment. They attack.

Assholes are not born, but made.

Good manners and proper conduct, after all are learned behavior.

What is the appropriate way to behave? And how far should it go before we say enough of the rudeness? And the excuses for being rude?

Wallace goes on to rationalize that

The terrifying truth is that however damaging we can say it, however much we can warn people against it, however much it goes against basic decency and logic, the allure of rudeness can be almost uncontrollably powerful.

Good manners and right conduct, after all, when not learned early on in life, will never be learned when we’re old. Just like the senior citizen I talked about in the drug store post the other day.

And all these intertwined values – manners, right conduct, and integrity – make the difference in today’s society. And only we, can change this new changed attitude.

Remember:

1. Never do anything you don’t want others do unto you.

2. And never do anything at the expense of others.

Abusive senior citizens #PetPeeveStories

I know most of us will (hopefully) all get to that age where we will get to enjoy the perks of being a senior citizen – free movies, first in line to almost anything, preferential boarding on flights, 20% discount on meals, medicines, travel, accommodations and more! Being a senior citizen has never been this good.

After all, those 60 years you’ve given to the world is worth the celebration and this reward is a fitting gesture to those who have “arrived”.

With technology and science at the forefront of advances in improving living and health conditions, this is the best time to be alive. That’s why they say that 60 is the new 40! Those that have made it to this stretch in their lives have earned it.

The senior citizen, however, should be gently reminded that whatever privilege is extended to them is not a reason to feeling entitled. I apologize if I will strike a nerve with this post. But let me say my piece.

I usually stay defensive about “senior citizenhood” because of my mom who turns 81 this year. Wherever we go, it’s wonderful to see the guards assist us or the passport queue is more convenient for her, or that her meals are discounted, among the many perks fitting her.

But there are quite a few senior citizens who have abused their privileges. With bodies more able than some of those in their forties, some abuse their entitlement at various establishments.

At the drug store the other day, I took a number and quietly queued with the crowd. I stood between two lovely senior citizens who offered wonderful smiles. When out of nowhere we heard a loud voice – a senior citizen (probably Fil-Am because she had this American twang but Filipino attitude) who was with another equally rude elderly (definitely Filipino) male. The tandem were rude. They berated the pharmacy assistant because the signs pointing to where the senior citizen lane was confusing, they demanded that there should be a better system (there is but these idiots were bickering that “in the States” they have a more efficient service for senior citizens), the woman wanted to know why the regular lane was moving faster than the senior citizen lane (because they don’t have to compute for the discounts if you don’t have all those discounts you dork), and she was hammering away with so much rudeness and the guy who came with her was echoing her rants. One rude person cheering on another.

After awhile, in the midst of her rant and demanding that there should be more Pharmacy assistants for the senior citizens (in an overcrowded drug store), I broke my silence and firmly told her “you’re not the only one queuing. The other senior citizens beside me have been here way ahead of you and they’re patiently waiting. Please wait for your turn or go buy a crown and place it on your head.” She and her companion looked at me leeringly but quieted down. The other two seniors beside me smiled and made the side comment – “buti nga” (good for them)!

I didn’t feel good telling them off. But someone had to put them in their place.

My number one general pet peeve is people who feel entitled. It is being rude. Of an ego that is bloated. Of abuse. Whatever age we are, entitlement is a form of insecurity. And the public display of rudeness should never be tolerated. It is a reflection of the kind of home environment you grow up in or the kind of friends that encourage entitlement.

When I got home, I told my mom the story of the day. The senior citizen, who came with plus one, and their attitude at the drug store. My mom retorted that there are a lot of senior citizens that are abusive of their privileges. Even if they are able bodied or they are still gainfully employed, they are, sadly – assholes.

Whoever it is, and wherever you are, it is our social and moral responsibility to put rude people in place.

Going up? The elevator #PetPeeveStories

We all take the elevator on most days. And my patience is ultimately tested in this cramped space, where the ride can be your most patient or angry moments.

My take on elevator etiquette. If you feel alluded to, sorry. The following are NOT appropriate when taking the lift. The general rule of thumb is BEING CONSIDERATE with the people inside. If you don’t want people staring or glaring at you when your highness steps in OR out the tiny cramped space, here are the rules:

1. Remove your backpack when you’re inside the lift

The space is cramped already. Boarding an elevator with your backpack at your back is occupying extra space. What’s worse than an indignant person with a backpack on his/her back is when he/she keeps moving around and the backpack is swinging at the other people. If someone smacks you, you deserve the smacking. Oh yes. That includes those carrying those large bags (and we don’t care if it’s an Herm├Ęs) that are bigger than a luggage. Please make sure that it’s not on your arm but held down in front of your legs with your hands stretched downwards.

RULE IS – when boarding the lift, remove your backpack and keep it between your feet. Being considerate of other people is mandatory.

2. Fold those baby carriages

When a disabled has to occupy the space because he/she is in a wheelchair or crutch, they have the priority. Not the babies! If you need to take the baby, fold the carriage and carry the infant. If he’s already a toddler, wake him up, make him walk or carry him and if there’s an escalator, take the escalator. The carriage is meant to carry a person and not your shopping stuff. The carriages are space occupying lesions.

RULE IS – fold the carriage before stepping into the lift. If you’re in a building that has an escalator, fold the carriage, carry the baby, take the escalator. The disabled have priorities in using the lift.

3. Face the front

It’s weird that you’re facing people in the elevator. It’s never right to stare at each other’s face. When in a lift, everyone should face the door. It allows you to step out of the lift at once when you get to your designated floor.

Don’t board the elevator when you’re going the opposite direction. Like when you’re going down, you take the elevator on the 7th floor when it still has 15 floors to go. It’s rude. You’re wasting space that can allow others to take them to their designated floor.

Looking at the door allows you to assess when it is time for you to step out of the lift.

RULE IS – after entering the lift, turn around, face the door and look straight. No groping or touching body parts unless you’re a pervert.

4. Last floor in, first floor out

If you’re heading to the uppermost floors, stay at the back of the lift. If you’re getting off at the lower floors, stay in the front area. When it’s already full, take the next lift. Don’t make everyone feel like sardines in a can. Move to the side when the doors open for other people to get in. Statues are not allowed inside the elevator.

RULE IS – last floor inside, lower floors near the door. Move for other people when the door opens or closes. If it’s not your floor and you’re at the door, step out of the lift when the door opens and let the people out. Be considerate. No statues inside the lift please.

5. No cellphones and keep your voice down

We don’t need to hear your conversation. Just today, as I was going down from work, three people were simultaneously chatting on their mobile phones. It wasn’t only irritating. I didn’t want to overhear each of their one way conversations. But they were outdoing each other’s volume. And I had 8 floors to go.

The Japanese are great examples of courtesy and decency when it comes to elevator etiquette. When they board a lift or train or bus, they don’t talk on their mobile phones.

Incidentally, it holds true for music and headsets. You’re supposed to hear YOUR music. If I wanted to appreciate a concert, I’d go to one. We’re not as tone deaf as you.

RULE IS – turn off your phone or place in silent mode when you board the lift. When you’re already in a conversation before you board the elevator, tell the other person you’re talking to that you’re getting into a lift and that you’ll call back. If you can’t cut the conversation, don’t take this lift. Wait till you’ve finished that conversation before riding the elevator. The lift is not your mini conference room.

For those appreciating the music at top volume, tone it down. Your sounds may be noise to me.

Silence is the key!

6. Eating is disturbing

We’re all starving to some degree. We probably dashed out of the office to grab a bite to eat. Eat it in your desk over a sad lunch or at the cafeteria or restaurant instead. Don’t bring out the food and munch while you’re inside the lift. You can enjoy every morsel of that bite in your space without having to irritate the others inside the lift. That is, of course, a different story if you want to offer everyone in that 30 seconds ride, a cheeseburger.

RULE IS – it is rude and gross to be snacking inside the elevator. Enjoy your meal without having to slobber all over the lift. If you spill food on someone who accidentally bumps into that ice cream cone, it’s your fault.

7. Stairs or stars

A bit of exercise is worth our health. It’s ironic that there are people who will run a 50km marathon but would want to take the elevator two or three flights up. If you’re in good health, you may want to be kind to those who need to use the lift more than you.

RULE IS – if you’re going one or two floors up or down, take the stairs. It is being considerate to those who need to use it. Think of it as your contribution to the good of mankind and your health.

8. Sorry I’m closing the door

This is a tough topic. You ever encountered that situation where someone or you are running towards the lift yelling “pssst pssst pssst” or “hoy hoy hoy” to hold the door? Then it closes. If you were the guy outside, some would probably be cursing at the inconsiderate bastard who didn’t hold the door and you’d have to wait another few minutes for the next lift to arrive.

RULE IS – he who is inside the door and has control of the door has the prerogative to allow you to join him in the lift or not. No one needs to wait for you when you when they’re inside the elevator already. It is always the prerogative of those inside the lift to allow to wait or leave you behind. If the people inside the elevator decide to wait for you, be grateful. You’re not the only one in a hurry.

If this article hits home, feel free to share away especially to those concerned. It would be good to have educated someone today on proper elevator etiquette. God knows this country needs this.

Trolls and the right of reply

The last of my April entry puts closure on the recent topic of vengeance, rudeness and my fave (or pet peeve) of them all – the troll.

Thanks to Danny Wallace, I have my stories to share about trying to understand a new culture of rudeness.

Received wisdom tells us that the greatest ally of trolling on the internet is anonymity. The person whom you’re saying is a travesty of a human being does not know who you are, and therein lies both your power and your clever escape.

Notice the posts of these trolls. No pictures of their own faces. All pseudonyms. Fake addresses. Fake jobs. Everything about them is unreal. If you scroll down their page, ALL posts are inconsequential and have no bearing on their existence in the real world. They are a cowardly angry bunch of lowlife reprobates who have no meaningful contribution to the world.

We often write off the people who post abusive messages online.

This is especially true when you try to provide a personal opinion with what is an accurate constructive analysis of the posted point of view…and then a troll comes along and puts senseless rude remarks. Most trolls are probably stinking reprobates who are possibly uneducated and have nothing better to do in life except stalk the internet, having a bad day because they’re probably waiting to get a “drug” high but can’t access any so they’re taking it out on just anyone in their line of firing sight.

Bullying is an overused word these days…but it’s what the internet nevertheless allows to have a fresh new-world attempt at.

But not all the trolls are lackeys in life. Some happen to be highly educated, are highly professional people, but “troll” for either a political conviction or personal crusade. They have a real profile and a fake one. The latter is one where they hide behind in a mask of anonimity so they can dish out their rudeness because they’re pure cowards. They are simply afraid of accountability, responsibility and the consequences of being rude.

The new generation of keyboard warriors who troll, has placed both politics and media at the lowest totem pole of truth and accountability at the highest risk of disruption, transparency and fake news because because of the phenomenon called trolls.

The right to reply, while within the right of every human being, is something that we need to understand and comprehend before we hit the send key. After all, when everything is said and done, the repercussions may outweigh the act. And that’s when shit hits the roof.

Revenge, just because…

It’s interesting that many of today’s online sites provide a “feedback mechanism”. A prominent example is TripAdvisor. It has both the mobile App and desktop version. Anyone (literally anyone) can be a member for free, and be a keyboard warrior. Imagine, an ordinary citizen given the power to “review” his/her most recent visit to a destination!

Imagine, a site that provides you the power to “rank and recommend” these places you’ve been to (from airlines to restaurants to hotels to tourist destinations), provide feedback to other visitors and earn imaginary “badges” and “ranks” as reviewers! Excellent idea and review reference when this site began, and while it still is a good reference, let me tell you why it may have been more biased in spite of the fact that they have a review process before your review is “published”.

The avengers (no pun intended here) appeared. Yes. You read it right.

How many times have we felt the urge and motivated to write a review NOT to help people but instead write about how terrible our experiences were just because…

We wanted revenge.

Vengeance is an interesting side of rudeness. Danny Wallace (in his book “F you very much…”), points out bluntly that

Ordinarily, what civilised human beings desire is justice. If someone kills your dog, we want justice. We don’t want to kill that person’s dog…But if someone is rude to us, it’s not justice we immediately think of. We want to shove their rudeness straight back in their stupid rude face. We want to show strength. Fight. We want them to feel the way they made us feel.

I mean, yeah, I get it! If you scroll down among, say, the top hotels and read the reviews, many are authentic to a large degree. Then there are the outliers. Those who’ve posted “warning” signs and disappointing reviews just because…

It was their anniversary and they didn’t get upgraded…(duh?!? Since when was announcing your anniversary a right for a room upgrade?)

The room was tiny and they were 3 people who occupied the room…(uhmmm yeah, didn’t you read the room size specs when you were booking? It said 12sqm!)

There was a lot of noise because of the repairs in the hotel…(well oftentimes if you go through the hotel website, you’d see an announcement on repairs being made at the date of your stay, but NO…you needed to go through some cheap site to cut back on costs and didn’t do a thorough research by cross referencing the actual website of your hotel!)

And I can go on and on…with these “just because” scenarios. What I’m trying to get at is that revenge is only a keyboard away. With downloadable free mobile Apps, it’s something you can manage at your finger tips even while you’re sipping your margarita on a beach where the lifeguard looks awfully fat and the kebab is awfully bland!

Social media is today’s snake pit. A world where good and evil co-exist. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are receiving the top rants and vengeance posts.

Revenge is everywhere. And it is natural. As Wallace points out,

…to not want it is weird and it has ever been thus…but this is a deep pot of unattractive emotion we’re stirring. Most of these acts of rudeness-revenge are done from the shadows, the results of which aren’t seen or witnessed, but just imagined and enjoyed. Within each of them is a deep, sad feeling of powerlessness.

If you’re rude to two people, chances are one of them is now plotting to get you.

The scary thing is that we really do believe that revenge is a dish best served cold. We wait. We plan. We relish. And afterward, we are secretly proud. We also have the ultimate excuse: they were rude to me.

And I get it when my friends and colleagues want to “plot” back against those that have caused hurt. It is never easy to walk away from a place of pain. The more painful the event, the more difficult to forgive and forget. The degree of revenge is proportional to the pain, if even in our imagination. That’s why the hurt is not only physically but mentally and emotionally draining.

Yet revenge is never the answer. Karma will take its course.

…and it will be sweeter watching from the sidelines how the enemy has crumbled.

The onlookers and the thing called rude

There’s a Filipino habit that’s really both irritating and entertaining at the same time. We call these people “miron” (onlookers).

They’re people who like minding other people’s business. (I guess it’s a cultural thing). They have so much time in their lives minding how others live even if they’re epic failures at their own.

A typical example is when a minor accident on the already heavily crowded roads of Metro Manila occurs. As the drivers approach the scene of the accident, they slow down (I mean really slooooooowww down). And of course, add to the already building traffic. The people on the sidewalk are not much help. They’re just there. Looking. Staring. (No one will bother to call the police or assist). They’re like statues stationed at the site, listening to the exchange in arguments, and in a few minutes, the gathering swells large enough to obstruct the road.

A more recent example is the latest spat between erstwhile local media “queen” Kris A., her ex husband James Y., and TV host Korina S. R.

It has the netizens eyes glued on Bimby, the love child of Kris and James, being the center of the “fight”. While the pathetic online drama is being paraded by media as a “national issue”, the entertainment piece has incorporated a mix of political under toning by the tactless sister of ex-president PNoy. Washing dirty laundry is, after all, her forte. And what juicier news than being an “onlooker” at what’s happening to lives of the rich and famous.

Nothing wrong in “appreciating” some salacious facts there. If this happened two decades back, it wouldn’t be given much attention except in some sleazy tabloid where it would be categorized as a WTF news. We’d have our own opinions and we’d probably gossip about it for gossip sake, but whatever opinion the public has over the matter is kept unrecorded. And the number of people “viewing” this, wouldn’t matter.

In the digital age, the internet has played a role at fomenting rudeness online. Danny Wallace, in his book “F you very much: understanding the culture or rudeness – and what we can do about it” points out that “the rage the internet stirs up and allows us to vent threatens to derail the thing that once made it beautiful. Newspapers, once so proud to welcome in the community and get a discussion going, are now wary of their own below-the-line commenters. Those who stick their necks out sigh as they press “PUBLISH,” knowing that whatever they say and no matter how clearly they say it will be accused of racism, sexism, homophobia, stupidity, thoughtlessness. And as you already know, they have their favorite targets.”

And he’s right. Whatever you “post”, people will either love you or hate you. A closed loop of friends may be the best alternative but that’s not going to happen for media.

Social media has practically made us all “onlookers”. We scroll through posts and look at those that are interesting enough to “share”, “like”, or feel over. Then of course, we can take it a notch higher by commenting as well.

But it’s easy to tweak a mob and they’re always just there waiting for it. A hungry, angry mob that can get angry about anything!

The challenge is in dealing with the “onlookers” who, in so few words – need to get a life! Healthy scholarly discussions have become a thing of the past. Even among the supposedly more educated tribe, some of the commentary exchanges have become pathetically trivial, rude, and sadly, stupid.

It’s like arguing with someone who has an IQ of 30 for a topic that requires at least a minimum IQ of 100.

And then there are the fake onlookers. They’re not real people. Fake accounts. Trolls. It’s bad enough we have to deal with “real stupid” people. But dealing with trolls that are employed or just innately rude, is so not worth testing your patience with.

Remember: no one wins an argument with stupid.