I know we've hit hard times because people are behaving badly.
I'm not just talking about the god-awful horrors that show up on the teevee screen on a more and more regular basis. I'm not just talking about things like what happened today in St. Louis. Or what happened in all those other places: Texas, Florida... even little Tualatin next door!
I'm talking about the way we treat each other day to day. I'm talking about the pettiness and impatience and crabbiness we dole out to each other because we're worried and afraid. All the hostility and fear and angst that is coursing through our collective soul seems to find vent in tight-lipped rudeness and irritability.
For example, the other day, Perennial Candidate for Multnomah County Sheriff, Andre Danielson and I waited patiently in line at the coffee shop up near 50th and Hawthorne. Behind the counter, a young woman took orders. When our turn came, I stepped up to the counter. "Hello," says I. Friendly as I could be.
She turned away, abruptly, without looking at me. "I can help you in a minute," said she, tapping the counter top with her finger tip. Whatever she was doing behind the counter, it didn't look urgent. Eventually, and with a great show of indifference, she turned back in my direction. "Yes?" she said.
"I'd like a coffee, please," said I.
"What size?" she demanded.
"Uh, well I guess I'll have..." I started, glancing up at the menu.
She didn't wait for me to finish. "They come in sixteen, twelve, or eight ounces," she said.
"Medium," I said.
She slammed an empty paper cup down in front of me, nodded her head in the direction of a coffee pot across the room, scooped my money off the counter, and was already peering over my shoulder at the next customer before I could even say "thanks."
But lest anyone imagine that I want to portray myself as a selfless, patient saint, I hasten to confess that I'm as guilty as anybody when it comes to rudeness. Believe me! If you could hear me when I'm behind the wheel of an automobile... (Or, even better, ask Maty!)
But here is my question, which I ask to myself and to all of you: Why?
It doesn't make anything better. It makes everything worse.
Come on, people, now.
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