Manners are a lost art- said someone, annoyed
We live where people vacation. One accepts that as part of making a life in South Florida. I am very grateful for the ocean and warm weather most days. Complaints about Florida are well documented, nevertheless, and my newest addition involves the migration of French Canadians.
In the winter we expect it. The aging population of our neighbors to the north have long enjoyed their golden years on our shores, but in July, it came as entirely unexpected. Our peaceful building was overrun with a tribe of them recently and, as it turns out, children screaming in French is just as grating as their English equivalents.
My man and I huff and puff as we peer over our balcony at the swimming pool they have colonized. "How do French women have four children and look like that!? It's 8:00pm - Go Inside!! They've been here for a month- aren't they bored by now?! Go to Disney World already!!!
Other than our home resembling more of an Embassy Suites at the moment, it is not their presence that bothers me as much as their manners, or lack thereof. Basic parenting and self-awareness seem lost on them. Your children screaming, in a community without any other children, is going to be a problem. How is that not obvious?
They do seem to fit all of the other overplayed stereotypes of the French: effusive, arrogant, loud, entitled, etc. but that isn't my concern. Trying to work from home to endless screams of "Mamannnnnnnnn!!!" very much is.
Anyway, hopefully whatever public holiday that extends for four weeks in Quebec will come to an end and I can have my 9:00am swim back soon.
White People problems, indeed.
This got me thinking about manners though. On a macro level. On a Trump size level.
Why is he ahead in some polls? Is he qualified to be the leader of the United States? I would say no, emphatically, based on resume alone. But he is ahead and people who support him remark at how much they appreciate his "tell it like it is" attitude. Many say the same of Chris Christie, also running for the 2016 Republican ticket.
So what is it about loud, brash, insulting men- because that would never work for women, except on Fox News and only if they look like Pageant Queens- that some people respond so well to?
It could be a reaction to the Bullshit Detectors that average politicians set off in us. The Politically Correct culture that exists more so now than ever. A whiff of offense ignites reactive Tweeting which has caused many Comedians to opt out of their College Tours, and other engagements, because of the sterile parameters they are forced to abide by.
Yet we swing from such extremes. No jokes about sex but mass gun shootings do nothing to change our gun laws (in the United States). The killing of one lion sparks death threats while people stuff pounds of animal flesh down their throats every week. Yet another republican candidate can liken a diplomatic deal with Iran to the gas chambers of the Holocaust and we just shrug, tweet a thought, and wait until the next story appears on our news feed.
It could be the Twitter and Facebook driven culture that allows us all to opine in isolation. Donald Trump calling people weak, stupid, or pathetic may mirror the snarky bitch in your head but that doesn't mean he (or you) are right. Every vile thought can be validated and debated but getting the last word in is really the only goal.
Having consideration for others is not the same as being easily offended.
Emily Post, the Grande Dame of etiquette, and who's grandchildren continue to promote her work today, was quoted as saying “Good manners reflect something from inside- an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self.” She is also credited with this: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
Please, take that into consideration: on Twitter, in the voting booth, and especially at the pool.