Hello, all! It’s a cool, drizzly, rainy day outside my window. The route I took to work this morning followed the route for our local Parade of Lights which was held last night, and in which I took part as a member of Ardmore Little Theatre. ALT entered a float in the parade, and I was one of the three people walking in front of the tow-vehicle and carrying our banner. It was a great time, and thankfully, I’m not as sore as I feared I would be from the unaccustomed and rather speedy walking I did last night.
It was a well- attended parade. Particularly toward the beginning of the route, people were packed in shoulder to shoulder. There were plenty of little ones in strollers and lawn chairs, wrapped in blankets, clearly having a great time. So what does this have to do with the title of this post? Well…. it’s not a pretty picture. This morning as I drove that same route to get to my office building, I noticed the sides of the streets looked very littered. Candy wrappers, coffee cups, soda cans, and water bottles, just left there on the sidewalks and curbs for… I don’t know, someone else to pick up?
Am I the only person bothered by this? It sickens me. It astounds me that people will go out to a public event, a thing that is free for them to attend, that hundreds of people have worked countless hours to plan, organize, and complete, and not even be thankful enough for others’ effort, not even be proud enough of a community that offers such pleasant holiday events, to pick up their trash?! How is this so hard to do? How is it hard to say “Hey, kids, look around and pick up your trash before we go. This is our hometown. Let’s take pride in it and take care of it.” Am I just completely over-idealistic? I mean, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I was brought up on “Let’s leave it cleaner than we found it.” Same applies for entertainment and sporting events. It drives me bonkers to leave a movie or a football game and see trash left everywhere in all the seats, floors, and aisles. BON… KERS!!!! How hard is it to carry it out with you and dispose of it properly? For that matter, how hard is it to return shopping carts to the store or the cart rack? I almost always bring in at least one or two carts left in the parking lot when I enter a store. It’s really not that big a chore, folks.
When did people get so tacky? I’m just asking.
Here’s another example. So many people nowadays, “celebrities” and non-famous folks alike seem to think it’s great to show off their bodies to the general public, both on social media with their half-nude “selfies” and on the streets and sidewalks by the too-tight, too-short, show-and-tell, immodest clothing they wear. And if it’s not clothing that shows off their own bodies, it carries pictures of others’ bodies, or signs or slogans that objectify, denigrate, and disrespect others’ bodies. And if it’s not offensive content relating to bodies, then it’s just disrespect in general. Questionable humor, distasteful words, slogans, language. When did society decide it was ok to show off the content of our intellect by advertising it on our clothes?
I realize that overall, the subject of manners, common decency, politeness, and “couth” as I called it in my title, is a huge, deep, multifaceted conversation to have. We could talk about causes, roots, contributing factors, and historical culture differences all day long. I’m not really able to intelligently discuss how or why we got here. I don’t know. All I have is a call to action: My fellow humans…please…Let’s try to have more consideration, more gentility, more refinement, more manners! Or at the very least, bring a trash bag to the parade. Let’s just start there.
Until next time,
- 1.cultured, refined, and well mannered.“it is more couth to hold your shrimp by the tail”
nounnoun: couth; plural noun: couths
- 1.good manners; refinement.“their hockey team had more talent but less couth”