When One Door Opens

Manners. They are hard to come by. I blame the separation of discipline from school. Teachers aren’t allowed to punish their students when they misbehave. I disagree. If you don’t have manners, it should be corrected. Immediately. From the start of your learning experience. It seems like as we get older, the more we lose our manners. So, if you didn’t have any to begin with. You’re screwed – scratch that. The rest of us are screwed.

It’s so simple to me. Doors in public. A door for an elevator. A door into or out of building. A door to a car. You get anywhere by going through a door. Plenty of opportunity to make an impact on the rest of the world you come in contact with through a door. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when someone doesn’t hold a door open for the next person. Even more of a pet peeve, not saying thank you. Another annoyance with the door dilemma – not letting someone through the door when exiting a building, elevator, bus, plane, or train – you get the picture. It’s as if people are walking around with their eyes wide shut and only seeing an entrance to the next destination without seeing that others may be coming from the other side. I witness it daily while going from home to work to errands to work to home again. It boils my blood. I want to smack some sense of manners into each person I encounter that is guilty of said annoyance. Look up! Pay attention people. You’d be walking into a door if some polite stranger hadn’t held the door open for you. The least you can do is say, “thank you!” If that’s too much to ask, maybe at least a polite head nod and smile. But no. We carry along without any manners. Pushing people out of our way to get on to the bus before the others that have been waiting before us – not giving those that need to exit the bus an opportunity to do so. We jump on an elevator causing a domino effect of shimmying up against strangers so those that needed to exit on the lobby floor can. What are we afraid of? Spreading politeness? Last I checked that’s not a bad thing. And what do we accomplish by not displaying manners in public? That we’re better than everyone else? I don’t think so. To me, you show me that you’re a self-absorbed moron.

Some would argue that there are stipulations to holding the door open for someone else. “Polite distances.” I get it. It can be awkward at times. You feel the need to run ahead when someone holds the door open for you. Or you feel like you’re applying pressure to those following behind you to hustle up as you hold the door open for them. Point is – you’re being polite. You’re attempting to at least show a sign of human decency. Manners are displayed for this brief moment – despite any awkwardness. At least try. It’s been my experience, that no one has ever slowed down to deliberately avoid having the door help open for them.  Or mumbled any slander towards me under their breath.  Another drawback I believe people are afraid of – being the permanent door stop. I am a victim of this all the time. A crowd is exiting and I hold the door open. Then the person behind me doesn’t stick an arm out to hold the door open for the person behind them. What am I going to do? Let the door hit the following people out their way out? Certainly not. So I stand their, as an unpaid doorman. Which is fine by me. I’d rather that than be a hypocrite to my own pet peeve and not hold the door open for someone else.  And what do I lose? A few minutes -tops. Sometimes, I lose more – My patience. I loose my patience when people just walk right on through without saying thank you or nodding in appreciation. I’m doing you a favor.

Manners come down to this: The golden rule.  Not that kind. The rule that you learned (or should have learned) growing up. Treat others as you want to be treated. You want someone to hold the door open for you. Let you off the elevator before they get in. Allow you to get off the bus before they step on. So you do these things in hopes that others will take notice and start to do the same. Then it takes me back to the lesson of not doing things for reciprocation of applause or recognition – or even to have it done in return to you. We should be polite and do random acts of kindness just because. And because not slamming the door in the sweet elderly lady’s face and she exits the building after you is the right thing to do.

-h.

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