Monday, November 9, 2015

Searching for civility

Happy Monday to one and all.  Here we are again, those of us who have jobs to do, places to go, people to see, kids to raise, and so on. 

I had my annual visit with the cardiologist last week and decided shortly thereafter that I needed to build in more time in my schedule for regular exercise.  It’s often easier not to, when I leave the house for a distant location early in the morning, but something that I still should do.  So I did that this morning, and feel a bit better for having done so.

I attended two things over the weekend that prompted my title today.  The first was a fundraising event where my employer bought a table to benefit our client, which is a non-profit organization.  The second was a movie, specifically the new James Bond picture “Spectre.”  Let me share some details about both experiences.

The fundraiser was held in downtown Lexington, which is not overcrowded by any means, especially on a Saturday night where Kentucky isn’t playing basketball at Rupp Arena.  The location of this event was the adjacent convention center.  I and my associates were told that valet parking would be complimentary, which I found interesting but a little suspicious, since projected attendance at this event was going to be around 350 people.  We were also advised of a “black tie optional” dress code and were given pretty specific instructions on what we should wear, etc.  The parking turned out to be complimentary parking, but not valet, and since I parked on the street, that presented no issue for me.

When I arrived at the event (thanks to several well-attired young people who were posted along the route to ensure that attendees knew where they were going, which was a nice touch) I registered and was told to get a silent auction number and told to buy a raffle ticket for a ladies’ watch.  I did neither, but that was my first signal that things were not going to be as good as they could have been. 

I found a couple of my work associates and chatted with them and someone from our client who was at our table as our guest (why she wasn’t her own organization’s guest is a bit mysterious).  During that time the crowd built somewhat and as it did, scores of people were moving around the room to see people they knew, inspect the auction items and, apparently, drink.  I’m pretty sure that my foot was stepped on at least five times during that forty minutes, mostly by women who backed into me while I was stationary.

Later in the evening, some of the same clumsy people made their way to the dance floor and were no more graceful there than in the outer area.  At least they were stepping on other people’s feet by that point!

During dinner, which was surprisingly good for banquet service and hotel food, I asked three different times for a glass of iced tea that our server apparently did not understand that I did want.  Also had to ask for coffee.  When one of our senior people stood and said she was calling it a night, I did the same.  I suppose the rest of our group stayed there until the place closed.

My other public experience was to see “Spectre” with my wife early yesterday afternoon.  We went to the local movieplex and didn’t realize that the noon showing was in the “extreme digital” theater, which is an enormous IMAX-style screen with lots of speakers.  Cool, liked that.  What I didn’t like was the woman to my left whose phone vibrated every five minutes, and then she proceeded to text repeatedly and step out at least once for a phone call that she initiated before leaving her seat. 

The folks behind us kept kicking my seat, and only after I asked the third time did they stop.  My wife asked why I didn’t go get an usher, and I responded that I had already been disrupted from enjoying the movie, why miss part of it, too?

I also continue to be amazed at how many people are up and down during a movie.  And this wasn’t a cheapo matinee price, either.  Regular tickets for this particular auditorium go for around $12, at noon on a Sunday.  So all of this milling around is self-inflicted.  I just don’t get it!


Anyway, I suppose rudeness is everywhere, like it or not.  I try very hard not to be one of  “those people,” so if you bump into me somewhere, hopefully I’ll be that much more polite as a result!

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