Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More People We Need to Kill

When I grew up, New York City was a mean, dirty, dangerous place. Some would say that's what gave it character. But as I look back I find it hard to believe that my parents would sanction our barely-legal-drinking-age weekend forays from the lilly-white suburbs of Rockland County into the Big Rotten Apple.

Of course all that changed when Rudy Guiliani took office and instituted his sweeping No Broken Windows Policy. No longer would the police turn a blind eye to the petty crimes that ravaged Manhattan from the north end of Harlem to bowels of the Bowery. There were no small crimes, Rudy said. And within a few years, the streetwalkers, the shoplifters and the taggers were moved off the streets.

When the rate of minor crimes dropped so did the major, more violent crimes.

I know this is all anecdotal and there are some Rudy-naysayers among you, but the fact remains, for better or for worse, New York City is a more civilized place. I wouldn't let my daughters roam the streets, but that's a different story.

Perhaps Rudy's 'trickle-up' approach can be applied elsewhere.

Let's start with the minor courtesies that have all but vanished from the daily course of our lives. Once we address these broken windows maybe, as they did in NYC, the larger issues will fall into place.

For the past 7 months I've been steadily employed at an agency. This is great as a freelancer because it gives me the steadiness of a paycheck and the illusion of security, without all the headaches of being a full-time staffer. It also means I go to an office everyday. And everyday I go to this white-washed business park in the media section of Santa Monica, I come in contact with people who have no manners.

I buy coffee from barristas who don't smile. I walk past smokers eager to share their second-hand carcinogens. And I hold doors open for people who find it too troubling to reciprocate with a simple Thank You.

This last infraction irks me to no end.

My guess is these non-thankers are the same people who won't let you merge on the highway. They're the ones who take the last cup of coffee and don't brew another pot. They buy 11 items at the supermarket and use the Express line. They talk on their cell phones while they assemble their lunches at the salad bar. They text and they drive, at the same time. They marry other non-thankers and raise non-thanking children.

In other words, their ill-mannered ways do not stop at not saying thank you.
These people are rude, impolite and lack all manner of civility.

We need to kill them.


Jeff said...

And then, after we kill them, we can look down at their limp, lifeless bodies and say, "You're welcome."

geo said...

Maybe killing is too kind. What if we locked them in a room with Donald Trump's hair.

Anonymous said...

I agree, we went to Japan and the courtesy is 180ยบ of the rest of the world. It was the most refreshing to see polite, respectful, thankfulness. It was nearly shocking.

NY is getting better, still.

Writerdog said...

Yes, yes. yes. I've noticed that after most routine sales transactions, the clerk, or barista, or whatever, says nothing. Out of habit, I suppose, I then reflexively say, "thanks." Their response is never "you're welcome" (to me, the barest minimum of politeness), but rather, "no problem." I say there is a world of difference between those two responses, the latter representing the thought, "you are so insignificant that this encounter does not represent a problem for me to deal with." Kill 'em all.

plaidbus said...

When I hold open doors for people and they don't thank me, I run inside, grab them by the collar, throw them down, sit on top of their chests and hang a big looie over their face until they thank me or give me money.