manners, manners!

recently, there has been much noise about etiquette- personal and general. the international sensation withers-bournes was an interesting one, however, unfortunately there is no shortage of manners regardless of location and population.  perhaps it is impossible to underpin why social grace is no longer considered important while everyone, the average joe, knows and gets angry when one perceives lack of 'respect' from another, regardless of the cause.

there are several occasions in recent years that had grated my nerves to raw.  fortunately most of them does not involve massive collisions of personalities. or is it fortunate? often i feel the most difficult situation is the one that you arent directly involved: there is nothing one could do but to endure.  a former friend who has turned uncivilized, for instance, had created much drama and tears (in 'lack of consideration for her feelings' while i have repeatedly asked her stance and feelings before making certain things public) and after a year of brooding, once congenial relationship is now stuck at a point of avoidance.  i dont really understand what she's thinking but i expect that she feels uncertain (and because she is unwilling to acknowledge any wrong doing, even when the basis for poor behaviors were solely based on her emotions rather than any facts or social protocols), i will be avoided for any interaction that may last longer than five minutes.  awkward? yes... what a waste of time- we could be friends for all those times and the days to come.

and then there are the usual: i want and you will respect me by giving it to me!

at which point, the whole system of social protocols collapse.  the most interesting part? one cannot reason with an insane person.  for every proper lunatic/fanatic, a different world exists. and by definition of lunatic/fanatic, there is no other way to even discourse through the differences. it's a mad situation because there is no resolution available but to ignore the lunacy itself (which makes them even more upset).

often one is held to society's standard (ie. dont punch someone in the face) not because they believe it's the right action (yes it is not right, but 'i' still want to punch in the face) but because the penalty exists ('i' may be arrested for personal battery case, or even punched back worse).  it's a coward way to live, but at least that keeps one out of trouble (of magnitudes one cannot even foresee).  one does not have to agree with the protocol personally, however, in context within a society, it is a selfish AND altruistic gesture to abide by general rule of manners.

i suppose bournes-withers case went viral because it crosses many taboos: the in-law family dynamics, socio-economic class differences, breach of respect for privacy, etc.  many people have noted their 'disgust' for the mother-in-law: stuck-up, old-school, oppressive, etc.  yes, she did make two mistakes, in my opinion.  one was addressing this girl through an email; if you deem her as uncouth as she is, why even use an email to communicate? a serious correspondence in snail mail wouldve been more appropriate for the points she was trying to make- and email is too easy to pass on (and leak out).  the second point is that you cannot take a point of superiority if you have indeed 'sunk' to 'her' level.  if MIL wanted to discuss the lack of grace in DIL, please do so, but one must retain the same level of grace that one preaches about.  soon as she mentioned pity for her son, the game started, i think.

what of all the points MIL made? i think they are all valid.  and silly thing is when one is trying one's best (to please), one does go beyond the usual call of duty and one should.  if DIL knew that MIL has unreasonable expectations for manners, DIL does not provide minimum compliance in order to please- DIL should go beyond the usual protocol.  and yes, this also applies to MIL though she failed to reciprocate- hence everyone claiming her to be a foul, evil person.

manner is a funny thing. one learns about it and one expects it. it is one of the few things that is easily recognized in its absence.  it usually occupies the place for 'extra' in life- ie. if you are a clerk at a store, you are expected to be competent and then maybe 'nice.'  i already see people shaking their heads in disagreement: no, monkey, clerks are supposed to be nice!

actually, no. people are paid and reciprocated for their tasks and responsibility.  a clumsy and unhappy clerk gets paid the same as the next one with bright smile and greetings that is pleasant enough to clear the most rotten sky. shocking isnt it!! and yes, we do assume that they ARE nice by default.

or that they should be.

and there comes the discrepancy: if manners arent expected, why are we expecting it? well, simply because we all like to be treated nicely i suppose.  tis called 'golden rule':  one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

the difficulty comes in when one is not contented, hence, a bit shaken and jarred. when situation is good, it is mighty easy to be nice and courteous.  it's when one is unhappy or displeased, that becomes immensely difficult.  suppose the killer point is that because one is unhappy, one must take extra caution to be courteous to the other party, as one now has the need to resolve the problem and hence return to the happy state.  and yes, it is difficult.

often it is difficult to to be nice at times, especially when it is an expectation and unrecognized.  because one has been treated nicely however without the disclaimer, often they cone to expect it.  so rather than being thankful for the extra revision, one simply ignores it, not because they may be bastards but they are unaware.  at which point, a rude awakening may be in order to restore the value of the care that has been taken place.  though that may involve some screaming and brooding...

aaah manners manners manners. like toilet roll, we only miss you when you arent there.  but boy, just like the peace of mind that comes with that ultimate roll in the cover,  it is always necessary AND nice to have bit more manners than to lack a bit.  so here it goes, another rant.  thanks for reading and love to you all!


1 comment: