Wednesday, September 16, 2009

With great power comes great attitude

Believe it or not, I'm actually quite easily perturbed. It only takes one confrontational event to ruin my day and send me into spiralling into a dark, unhappy place. The other day, we got out of class and J-Rock and I were horsing around in the halls. Being the jovial bundle of sarcasm and wit that I am, I let fly a particularly salient insult and then made a break for it. I only made it a few steps down the hall when a cantankerous, middle-aged professor stepped out of the door...

"I'm trying to teach a class here, and I can't hear ANYTHING!"

She glared at us with contemptuous eyes, brows furrowed in disdain, teeth barred, and arms poised to pounce. I turned away. "Sorry," J-Rock offered sincerely - I could virtually feel his head bobbing up and down in remorse. "Sorry," I echoed quietly, my back already facing my accuser. I was not sorry. I was vehement.

As I mentally took her down a notch, countering her verbal attack in a play-by-play rewind, I paused. Why was I so upset? After all, if some kids were making a ruckus outside my classroom when I was trying to teach a class... wouldn't I also be annoyed? Wouldn't I also snap and tell them off? Probably so.

Yet, something about this was still unpalatable: the attitude. The contempt. The condescension. After all, we hadn't known there was a class going on in that hallway. We hadn't intentionally disrupted their learning. We hadn't planned malice or disrespect. We just happened to be there and so did they. Had the professor treated us with more respect, I probably would have been more remorseful but less upset.

A friend of mine returned from Asia and expressed to me that he felt "Canadians were too honest." I countered that the problem I perceived was not that Canadians were too honest (I am a big fan of frank honesty), but rather they were simply not polite. Where are our manners, friend?

Manners are something that have gradually left our collective psyche as society's brains become shrunken from posting faceless spam on Internet forums... but manners are also something that are lost with feelings of entitlement. Feeling of entitlement are often associated with seniority and power. Professorship. Medical degrees. You name it. It's easy, then, to begin to feel as though our time is more precious than those of our fellow citizens. The result?

Snap. Crackle. Pop. Jackass, bad manners!

Beware the trap.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

I definitely don't want to relive that experience again...

Though it would be mildly amusing to horse around during her same class again and see what happens... :D