Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Respect - A Not-So-Distant Relative of the Ghost of Christmas Past?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - find out what it means to me...Guess what?! You're about to, really! There are a bunch of other things I really want to write about, but since the holiday season is right around the bend (hurrah), I thought I would throw this one into the mix before I broach anything else. As usual, this decision is not based on purely objective rationale, but rather, on my general dislike for 90% of society as a whole. Now, you may think what you will, but I am certain I am not the only person who feels this way, and the holiday season just accentuates this feeling. It's almost as though the blinking, brightly coloured lights and high-pitched Fa-la-la-la-la's serve as fuel, and feed this fire, this lack of respect towards others.

Where should I even begin...Since I brought up the holiday season, I think I will run on that tangent. The battle, I have found, begins before even entering the shopping mall. Actually, it begins before you even park. A lack of respect can often be observed as one TRIES to find a parking spot. Everyone is always in a rush for some reason, and it's as though any common sense they might have also goes out the window. The parking lot no longer serves its intended purpose, but rather, is transformed  into a battle to the death. People forget all about their side mirrors or rear-view mirrors, they drift around corners like they are auditioning for the latest installment in the Fast & Furious saga. In the event you are lucky enough to come across an empty parking spot, you should also be ready to duel, as there is a high to very high probability that someone else has spotted it too, and is now tracking you, like a mountain lion would it's prey, just waiting to snatch it up at the last second, leaving you back at square one. And don't for a moment think that someone will respect that turning signal indicating you are parking there - it is every man for himself.

Let's now assume that someone had enough basic respect to stop their vehicle, and allow you to cross safely at the crosswalk, designated mall entrance. After a few near-fatal misses, you have now reached what I like to refer to as the pinnacle of Hell. This my friends is where the battle ups it's ante, and the blood-lust begins. Everywhere you look, there are people - and not just people, but MASSES of people. People with children, people who live in retirement homes and move slower than a snail, people who are also letting the holiday stress get the better of them and having public disputes with their loved ones, who are equally stressed by this holiday shopping experience. When you walk into any given store, your mission is no longer just to make it out with "only what you NEED to buy", it is now to try and locate what you need, purchase it, and do so without taking out a few people along the way. Everyone has bags upon bags, and yet no one seems to be aware of this - anytime you try to make your way through a crowded aisle to get to whatever you need, you risk an eye because no one can keep the bags down low, at their sides, the way one should. To add to the stress, there are always a strict minimum of five children throwing various tantrums, screaming, crying and running between your legs out of control as you try to dodge the aforementioned mags. And then, just when you think you have finally done it, you reach for that item you so desperately seek, and someone gets to it before you do, snatching it right up from under your hands.

Feeling mainly defeated, but still slightly hopeful, you attempt to locate a store employee. Let's take another moment to remember that this holiday shopping period stresses out everyone, including the store employees. When you finally manage to locate one, you enter a 15 minute queue - not ideal, but you do want that thing you went to the store for. After a seemingly never ending wait, it is finally your turn! You explain to said employee what your situation is, and kindly ask "Was that the last one, or perhaps do you have another in the back somewhere?". The response you often get "Well if there's none left on the shelf, I guess there's none left!", often accompanied by one of those smug looks like he/she is just soooooo much smarter than you. Well, if you were smart, you would do your job - this means instead of giving me attitude, you would walk yourself into the back-store and check, I won't even know if you actually checked, but I will smile and say thanks even if you humoured me and only pretended to check, or at least offered to check another store location, or order it - anything really.

That scenario I just mentioned, it's a little like washing and rinsing your hair - repeat. in. every. store. After this long day of attempted (perhaps even successful) shopping, one last obstacle stands between you and home base, aka, your home. The damn parking lot - again. Remember everything I wrote about that parking lot earlier, well now, consider this - there is a good chance everyone has had the same general kind of day you have, so there is an even better chance that they are now just as irate with everyone around them as you are. This means that people have even less respect for you, your space, your car, and the obvious crosswalk you are so carefully and frightfully trying to traverse. As you finally reach your car, you can only hope that buddy who was parked thisclose to you before didn't leave a nice dent, and breathe a sigh of relief when you find your vehicle intact. As the cars slowly crawl out of the parking lot, you hear horns honking, see people (maybe even me!) swearing in their cars at the idiots in front of them and a few people are even kind enough to utilize sign-language, letting other motorists know exactly how they feel about them.

Listen up folks - I don't like most people in general society. I don't. And it isn't because I am not a people person, it is because of scenarios like these. No one seems to realize that the world's population is on the rise, and as such, it means you need to be more aware of your surroundings. It means you need to have respect for people's personal space, and throw out an apology once in awhile if you invade it. It means you have to understand that you are not the only person that is frustrated, but that yelling won't get you any further. It means you have to try to keep your cool even when you are about to lose your shit, it means you need to be the bigger person. Respect is a tough game - it is much easier to let your emotions get the better of you, and it is easy, especially during the holidays, to make yourself #1 and push others to the wayside. Let this holiday shopping season be a season of change - take a deep breath, and ask yourself - is this how I want to be treated? If you answer no, then remember that - keep yourself in check when you find yourself in one of these less than ideal situations, respect others and their space, and they might just do the same...But "might" is the operative word.

-Milie B.

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