The Tweets
The Tweets

Entries in Respect (1)

Tuesday
Nov202012

Mall Philosophy

Yesterday I had a very weird--and not altogether unwelcome--feeling come over me. The cliché way to put it would be a moment of clarity, but even now, I struggle to remember exactly what it felt like, let alone how I got there.

For a couple hours, nothing really got to me, and I heard myself telling other people to calm down; that whoever was pissing them off might have a good reason for their choices. In a nutshell, I was being a rational, reasonable human being. Anyone who knows me, knows that this is a departure from how I usually let annoyances affect me.

The bottom line is that pretty much the only thing I'm left with today is how much I enjoyed the feeling. I was more productive, less stressed and was (I hope) a much more pleasant person to be around... although I see how too much of this "rational" me might annoy people in a different way.

Which leads me to escalators and the elderly. Thankfully, during my few hours of peace, I happened to be cutting through the mall on my way home from work. On one of the escalators I take there were two elderly friends just ahead of me. They happened to be riding the moving stairs side by side, blocking anyone else from moving past them to get to the ground floor more quickly.

In the state I was in, I was content to stay put and not say anything or try to squeeze past them. On the short ride, I heard the two men complaining about "those damn kids." As the lineup of annoyed people started to form on the escalator, I was faced with the almost laughable hypocrisy of our society and what we call "respect."

Respect the rules; respect the elderly; respect the law; respect your fellow man. What exactly does it all mean? Is it respectful to say nothing and let two elderly men hold up foot traffic in a busy mall, or is is respectful to treat them like a fellow thirty three (spoiler alert) year old and ask them to move? If respect needs to be earned, how can we gauge how much respect a random stranger deserves? If you ask most people, "time served" on the planet is the standard. The older you are, the more respect you should automatically receive.

With all due, er, respect that's bullshit.

Bigotry, racism and overall douchiness does not somehow magically become less of an issue the older you get, just as it is not a worse issue the younger you are. Bad apples come in all shapes, sizes, AND ages.

Now, I'm guilty of it too, don't get me wrong. I am FAR from being the best version of myself. But at times like these, when I'm living off the fumes of the better me, I like to document my thoughts just in case there's something worthwhile hidden in my ever rambling mind.

Just like demerit points on your driver's licence (depending on which province you live in), I believe you should start out every initial interaction with a full allotment of respect, and your less than admirable actions knock off respect points. It's the only fair way to do it. It's also the most human. Good actions can, of course, rebuild any lost points, but to go into a situation expecting someone to prove their merit as a human being to you is an almost insurmountable task for a complete stranger.

...if only I'll be able to remember that the next time a stranger cuts me off.