Wednesday, January 03, 2007

There's Just No "Excuse"

It suddenly dawned on me (this past weekend as I stood in a crowded bar being pushed and shoved in all kinds of directions) that people simply just don't say "excuse me" anymore. There's no "pardon me", or "excuse me", or even a "sorry" as people push past you on their way to wherever. I am not talking about a slight brush from a passerby. I am talking about a knocking me off-balance kinda thing. Is it because I am big and people think that I might not move if asked?

And it's not just in a bar. I have noticed when I am traveling to work in the morning on the "L" and take a seat next to the window, a person who eventually sits next to me will sometimes use me as a bumper to land in the seat. Which is okay if he/she happens to lose his/her balance and falls into me. But then I expect to hear "I'm sorry" or "excuse me" or even "good morning". Something!

But no.

When I sit next to people, I am cautious as hell about not touching them at all, much less falling into them -- partly because of the cooty factor, but mostly because it's just rude to do it. And if I would bump into someone with any amount of force, I would apologize. Likewise when navigating through a crowded bar. Granted, my friends usually make me go first because I can clear a wider path for those who follow. But my journey is peppered with "sorry" as I work my way through. I will admit to pushing my way through, but only after two "excuse me"s have not seemed to garner a response. I have also been known to pick someone up and displace him to make a point (this has led to 6 different dates over the years).

But I digress.

Social graces have been slowly eroding in America for years. And I have found if you correct behavior now and then, it seems to work. In many ways, adults are mere children just waiting to be told what to do. So here is a little lesson for you: "Excuse me" is your action, not mine.


  1. The Baptist in me shouts a hearty, "AMEN!"

  2. I agree with you too Dop. It amazes me how rude the public can be as if they think that the space you are standng in is owed to them. I constantly see examples of this and have found airplanes to be the worst example of this type of behavior. Granted, the seats aren't large, but do you need to constantly have your arm overlapping mine?

  3. Lordy, I think you could write for hours about this topic! I totally agree with you. I decry the dying of basic manners almost every day. And it gets worse every generation - I shudder to think what it will be like when we're old!

  4. Brilliant! Genius! You have summed up our modern world to a perfect "T"! There is too much rudeness in the world and thank God someone has said something about it. We should all work to end rudeness, but first we must think how to achieve this large goal. I am sure you will think of something!

  5. Dop: This social commentary is right on. Your observations are correct!

  6. I have never understood how another human being could lack basic manners towards another, however the USA is not alone Dop! The 'X & Y Generations' in Australia and UK also lack these fundamental skills. Its a sad, sad state of affairs. All we can do is to empart the values we were brought up with to those youth we have in our lives, and hope for the best. I think these days people are so self consumed and self absorbed to realise. Or just too lazy!

  7. Dop - Here here!! - I agree.

    Usually when someone shoves past me without so much as an excuse me I'll bark "Excuse Me?" sarcastically at them as they barge through the rest of the crowd without so much as a thought about the people they knock over on their way to where ever they're going.

    What also bugs me is, like you say, when people seemingly ignore you after a few "Excuse Me"'s. Sadly I don't have the muscle to physically lift someone up and place them aside as if they were a chess piece, but if I did, there would be no stopping me doing so.