Monday, December 21, 2009

The Decline of Civility

A year ago a Montreal filmmaker John Curtin documented a film about the decline of civility, To Hell With Manners! Er not exactly a great selling title but it's certainly something I've thought of lately. From people stepping onto a train without waiting for people to exit, overly loud conversations on cellphones or drivers running other drivers off the road... we're certainly not a pleasant bunch.

I recently slipped and fell on ice in front of a house, slamming my knee to the hard concrete. The owner of the house, sitting in their car didn't do a thing. Not even a "Are you alright?" or any other acknowledgement that I fell flat on my ass because they failed to shovel or salt their driveway. Another day I saw a middle aged woman shoulder her way past people, shoving them hard without so much as an apology. I could list hundreds of other situations like this, and I must say ... I'm horrified.

A lot of people claim that Canadians are among the most polite people and I do believe smaller towns do have nicer people (East coast anyone?) but I can't say the same about the major cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver (oh yes Vancouver is included, despite many locals' repetitive boast that they are the best city in the world to live in). When I speak to any of the older generations (65+), it's readily admitted that manners were far more adhered to and that civility was practiced.

How hard is it to slow down and just let things slide? The holidays are a particularly stressful time, if you have strained relationships or your financial situation is dire it can stretch your tolerance level to the very limit. No one can fault you for letting out a bit of steam.

A bit of perspective

I recently went to two funerals in one week and I can say for certain, nothing brings reality into perspective faster than losing a loved one. If you're feeling you're about to snap try to do yourself a favour, take a break and breathe for minute and hopefully your anger will slide away. Just as it should.