The current presidential campaigns sometimes make me wonder if my standards of rudeness are overly strict. For instance, when speaking of soldiers who have risked their lives to protect me and have ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, I generally don’t refer to them as weak. I would consider that rude. I would also consider it wildly inaccurate and monumentally stupid, but then, I’m not in politics. If I were, I’d consider those to be selling points.
All right, all right, I’ll stop with the political diatribe (even though I’m right). What I really want to say is, when this many people strike me as being this rude, the devil’s advocate in me has begun to wonder if the one who’s really out of line is me. Are manners now meaningless? Are precepts of politeness simply passé? Do I demand too much decorum and thus doom myself to deportmental disappointment? Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the alliteration (and the made-up words). All I ask in return is that you take this quiz designed by experts (me) to tell if I’m unduly uppity (sorry) or if people just really are that rude.
1. Public (Restroom) Interrogation
I walked into the ladies’ room of a department store the other day, and a woman who was at the sink looked up and started talking to me. I made a polite reply and went into a stall, at which point the woman not only didn’t stop talking, but actually continued to talk to me the entire time I was in the stall. As a matter of fact, she asked several questions. I wasn’t sure if it would be worse to say nothing or to answer (I said nothing). Seriously! How rude was that?
A. That’s pretty rude. I mean, what if you had a bashful bladder?
B. Cut her some slack. Maybe her boundaries were off, but she was just trying to be friendly.
C. Was it number one or number two?
D. You mean how rude was it for you to say nothing? Yep, that was pretty rude, all right. And mean. That poor lady.
E. Depends. Are you a dude?
2. Fuming Amid the Fumes
I was stuck in traffic with a friend, and by traffic I mean a seemingly endless line of cars moving at an approximate rate of five feet per hour. After about twenty minutes (or 1.67 feet), and I’m surprised it took that long, some complete asshole came barreling down the shoulder because, you see, he really needed to be somewhere. Just as he was about to leave my field of vision, which admittedly isn’t hard to do, some other complete asshole let. him. back. in. Come on! How rude was that?
A. OMG, I know, right? Who does he think he is, passing on the shoulder like that? Wait in traffic like everyone else; you’re not that important.
B. OMG, I know, right? Why did he let that car back in the lane? It’s the most sacred rule of the road: thou shalt not let the asshole back in.
C. Did you know that more people think it’s always wrong to cut in line than think it’s always wrong to commit murder? I wonder if that means that offing someone who cuts in line is justified….
D. The only possible excuse: was the first asshole on the way to the hospital with a woman who was in the process of giving birth? (By the way, if that was the case then I’m really, really sorry for calling you an asshole. Also, congratulations!)
E. You’re just ticked because you know you couldn’t get away with it!
3. I’m Sorry, I Don’t Have To Take This
I went up to a sales associate and started asking about a product. In the middle of my question, the phone rang at her counter. She held up a finger and answered the call, which judging from the content was neither pre-arranged nor from a supervisor, either of which I would have understood. The entire time she was on the phone and I was standing there, she kept her finger raised. Eventually, I raised a finger of my own (I actually did! I’m so proud!) and walked away. But really, I mean, I was standing right there. How rude was that?
Survey of actual responses:
A. Rude! I get so mad when that happens to me.
B. So rude! Not to mention terrible customer service.
C. So very rude! And completely awesome on your part, by the way.
D. Incredibly rude! I’m amazed all you did was flip her off.
E. So very, incredibly rude! I’ll bet the person on the other end of the line was that asshole who passed everyone on the shoulder.
Mostly A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, or E’s— I have no idea what it means if you got one letter more than the others. That you think I’m overreacting? That statistics are less meaningful than you think they are? This really isn’t that kind of quiz. If it makes you feel better, you can make up a reason that you got mostly B’s. I’ll totally back you.
So leave a comment to tell me if my standards of seemliness are laughably lofty, or if these people were as devoid of propriety as a presidential candidate. Am I being unreasonable or are they being rude? Or is it a little (or a lot) of both? You tell me!