Excuse you! Do you mind?


Woman relaxing at the lake in sunset

I like to tell students that two of my pet peeves are rudeness and disrespect. I then repeat what was often told to me as a child and probably yourself: “If you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all”. I’ve adopted this simple advice as one of my favorite mottos. Of course it’s just words until put into action.

I make a point of being polite and respectful to all my students. I expect the same in return. We all deserve both. It works more often than not and makes my life as a substitute teacher much more enjoyable.

I’m guessing that we’ve all been the recipient of rudeness or disrespect at some point. I remember working at a Wal-Mart store several years ago, when a female customer began impatiently snapping her fingers at me for attention. Excuse you! Do you mind? Is it really necessary to be that rude to me? I’m just trying to earn an honest wage and carve out an existence for myself. And you?

I should probably mention that when I refer to the display of rudeness, the act of disrespect is implicit. It’s impossible to be rude without being disrespectful. You can’t be rude to someone without also being disrespectful. To be rude is to be disrespectful by default. Disrespect, however, can appear in many forms and degrees such as sarcasm, belittlement, etc.

The many forms and degrees of disrespect would not be categorized under rude by default but under stronger terms like cruelty, verbal abuse, etc…I really hope that makes sense to someone other than myself.

Referring back now to the very impatient lady at Wal-Mart, I’m still surprised that someone could treat me or anyone else in such a manner. It seems that I’m totally incapable of understanding this darker aspect human nature. I deal with this type of negative behavior with as much patience as I can summon. One person’s rudeness or disrespect does not negate my self-respect.

And now, with the popularity of social media, our capacity for rudeness and disrespect has followed us onto the internet.

Fortunately, I haven’t personally experienced much by way of rudeness or disrespect online. However, there has been a couple of times that I’ve gotten my back up because of someone’s misguided arrogance. I’m compelled to defend myself and can never summon the same amount of patience as in my physical world.

That is not to say that I’ve given myself permission to be rude or disrespectful. My reactive weapons of choice are a sense of humor and the power of the written word. It has always put a quick end to the “conversation”. So far, so good.

I’ve had friends through social media who’ve told me that they’ve been the target of many unkind comments. Now that just peeves me off to put it politely. Why would anyone spend their time trying to hurt someone they’ve never even met or gotten to know beyond the online superficial. That’s not to suggest that it’s acceptable to hurt someone you have met. Like most of us, my time is valuable and I’m not about to waste it by making someone else miserable.

Rudeness and disrespect hurt regardless of whether it’s online or in your face. I can think of everything else that I’d rather do with my time. Write this blog, for example. It’s fun and engaging. I’m happiest when I’m writing. So, I have to ask myself, is hurting others fun and engaging for those who do it? Can you imagine that? I can’t.

Another favorite saying of mine is “Live and let live”, so I make a point of not judging others. I think this is partially due to my fear of being judged myself, so it’s a little self-serving. I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years and I wouldn’t want to be judged by them. Right about now it may seem that I’ve gone a little off topic.

I’ve been told that I have a tendency to do that and I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s true, but not this time. I also have a self-recognized tendency for long rambling sentences as I’ve just demonstrated. Now I’m off topic. It’s time to get back to the point I was going to make.

…And back to my point, as I’ve proudly mentioned, I abstain from judging others. However, if some people do find pleasure in hurting others through rudeness or disrespect, wouldn’t that originate from some defect within them? I don’t have the answer to that question. Otherwise, wouldn’t it be just as easy to exhibit kindness through politeness, respect and common courtesy?

The last time I checked, these (aka politeness, etc) didn’t cost any more than rudeness or disrespect. Fortunately, good manners are still much more abundant. I feel confident in stating that. I do. I’ve witnessed countless examples and have been the recipient of good manners more often than I can count.

Perhaps those who have not yet come to realize that we’re all in this together, therefore always deserving of each other’s kindness and respect, no excuses, will learn by example, eventually.

My cup remains half full.

Antique Typewriter


© 2015 Brenda Baker

4 comments on “Excuse you! Do you mind?”

  1. So true, we can all relate. Was just thinking about this as I was carving my current sculpture. So glad you bring this to the classroom, our young generation needs to learn this; and us adults also need to remember our manners. After all, we have the responsibility to ourselves and our youth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I try to teach by example. Do unto others as you would yourself and you can’t go wrong. Thank you once again for commenting sis and good luck with your sculpture! You know how much I love and admire your work 🙂


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