Posts Tagged ‘personal responsibility’
Public transport. It’s a never-ending source of depraved curiosity, bewilderment and material. If my travels don’t find me perplexed by the riddle of the ring, it seems like I’m perpetually pondering blasé parenting. I know, I’ve got a bit of an alliteration thing going on at the moment. Honestly, a solid week riding on the trains, buses and ferries could yield enough material for a year’s worth of TDoT posts. There’s a chance that it would also yield any number of genital-specific diseases, but I digress.
Why do parents think their spawn are not only bonsai geniuses, but that they are the most delightfully amusing munchkins on the planet? Furthermore, what drugs are they taking to nurture the delusion that the rest of us want to be subjected to Johnny reciting the alphabet on the bus, or little Barbeigh (yeah, like the doll, only cooler) running from one end of the train carriage to the other? Not only is Johnny in all probability as dumb as a post, he’s also as annoying as fuck. Put a leash on him or something.
On my ferry ride home this afternoon, I was accosted by four little darlings screaming and arguing. When they weren’t galloping around the cabin, they insisted on testing the trampoline-like qualities of the seats. A cessation of this behaviour only signalled that it was time for them to question their parents about why they hadn’t received a new toy in the last three minutes. At the top of their voices. Once the interrogation was over, the Oompa-Loompa wannabes resumed pulling each other’s hair and running the Tour de Ferry.
What did the parents do while the fruit of their loins were unleashing commuting Armageddon? Nothing. They chatted, played with their mobile phones and, unless I’m completely mistaken, seemed to take great joy in watching the bambinos entertain the other passengers. No, I don’t find your kid’s off-key caroling soothing – I’m trying to determine how harshly society would judge me for throwing a five-year-old off the stern of a moving vessel.
Given that I’m devoid of any paternal instinct whatsoever, one could assume that my Grinch-like complaint was unfounded and purely the result of not being very cherub friendly. But it wasn’t just me. Upon assessing the facial expressions of my fellow commuters, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one wanting to jettison minors. Had I followed through with my plan, I guarantee that I would have had to take a number and wait in line, a la a suburban delicatessen.
Can someone please explain to me why most parents believe that their progeny running riot in public and pissing everyone else off is adorable?
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OK, it’s official. Smokers have taken a clear lead on my list of pet hates. Actually, let me clarify that. The majority of smokers have moved into the top position. Why is the clarification required? Because the minority, who have respect and do the right thing will not disagree with my thoughts. It’s those who typify the stereotypical smoker who will be whinging, bitching and sending death threats in response to the post.
I don’t smoke. Never have. I’m one of those boring people who have never even taken an experimental puff. It’s my choice not to, and I have no issue with those who wish to exercise their free choice in partaking of the habit. What I do have issue with is the smokers who believe it is their constitutional right to light up wherever the fuck they want, whenever they want, and thus remove the free choice of non-smokers not to be exposed to the myriad of toxic shit emanating from their cigarette. Also, there is the very small point about the actual smell of cigarette smoke.
According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 3.3 million people over 15-year-old were deemed current smokers. This data was taken from the 2007/08 National Health Survey, so for the sake of this argument we will assume that the figures are statistically accurate. There are now over 22 million people in Australia. So let’s say 15 percent of the population smoke. The majority (refer back to paragraph two) are therefore removing (albeit inadvertently) the free choice of nearly 19 million Australians each time they light up in public.
Do you know what the most common litter found anywhere is? Yeah. Cigarette butts. The same people who take it upon themselves to remove the free choice of most non-smoking Australians also seem to believe it’s their right to dispose of the evidence of their habit wherever they happen to take the last draw. Sometimes it’s in a bin. Rarely. Usually it’s on the ground or in a garden. More often than not it’s out the window of their car. That always puzzles me. They don’t want the dirty, odoriferous refuse in the vehicle with them, so they assume the rest of us will accept it with open arms and toss it out the fucking window. Thanks for that. I would have preferred a 30-year-old single malt, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
For those who are the subject of this rant, a few key topics: free choice, respect for others, personal responsibility and littering.
I’m not going to lecture about the sins of a vice or addiction. It’s not the point of this post, and I have as many vices as anyone. Besides, the people who this post is aimed at won’t care. It won’t make any difference to their attitude or behaviour. They are already drafting their poorly worded death threats with one hand while trying to fashion a rollie with the other.
I watched a social interaction take place on the bus this afternoon that got me thinking. And extended thinking eventually got me annoyed about what I had witnessed. The irony though, is that the social interaction wasn’t a once off occurrence, nor was it shocking. I’ve seen it a thousand times. But as I reflect on the week that has been, I have to ask the question – does anyone know what happened to manners?
The event that prompted this post was nondescript, yet in a way it was incredibly poignant – I was sitting up the back of the bus, watching the world go by when we stopped to pick up a mother with her toddler and an infant in a stroller. She struggled to get onto the bus and when she did, stood with a despondent look on her face when she realised that the six fold up seats normally used to accommodate prams and wheelchairs were occupied by an elderly gentleman with his groceries and two young guys, one of whom was expressing his individuality with denim shorts, knee-high socks and a blue singlet, the latter normally only seen in shearing sheds and on my late grandfather. One can only assume the socks were providing enough warmth from the Brisbane winter weather to negate the need for something with sleeves. It was an interesting social experiment to watch, with the mother looking hopefully at the two guys. They didn’t move. They looked at her, looked at each other with an almost non discernible nod and went back to talking. One even spread his arm out over to the seat between him and his friend, as some sort of non verbal, possibly subconscious confirmation that there was no way he was moving. ”Grocery man” saw this and ended up moving so the woman could use the seats on the other side of the bus, but it made me think. And here we are.
It would be too easy to put what transpired down to age, as seems common place with society today. It’s so effortless to sit back and point fingers at Generation Y. But the apparent demise in manners and common courtesy today isn’t just restricted to people born since that time when Knight Rider was cool. The “What’s in it for me?” mentality is prevalent across all demographics. Can anyone tell me at which stage in our evolution as a society we stopped thinking about others? When did we decide it wouldn’t be worth helping someone or being polite if there was nothing to be personally gained by doing so? Call me cynical, but it seems like a backward step in cultural development.
I was raised to show respect, tolerance and consideration for others, as were my two younger brothers. It’s something I will be eternally grateful to my parents for. I never gave it much thought growing up, as I had more important things on my mind (as teenagers tend to do) and I assumed that everyone was being taught the same thing. But everyone isn’t taught the same thing. Some unfortunately have no exposure to it at all through varying extenuating factors, while some were taught common courtesy but somewhere along the line decided “Fuck it, if I have nothing to gain by doing it why bother?”
It’s a sad reflection on how we are progressing as a society when we are getting less respectful to others, and essentially ourselves by association. The main offenders seem to have a huge chip on their shoulders and assume that the general public owes them something for nothing. They go through life under the perception that everyone should treat them like the sun shines out of their rear facing orifice, but can’t fathom why this respect should be reciprocated. Certainly some of the offenders are Gen Y. Some are Gen X. I have seen Baby Boomers guilty of the “WIIFM?” approach too. Can you see what I am getting at? People from all age brackets and walks of life are blameworthy of this seemingly felonious social faux pas. The question that begs to be answered though is this: how long will it be until a total disregard for others and an absence of manners isn’t any longer a faux pas, but a socially accepted norm?