I attended a high school graduation ceremony last night and was appalled at the rudeness, lack of consideration, and general disrespect to the graduates and the other attendees that was displayed. It became painfully evident that common courtesy has become uncommon.
I was late for the ceremony because I had no idea where I was going and Mapquest didn't really help. So in the sheer mass of people there, I couldn't find the friend whose son I was there to see. I found a seat on the first row of the bleachers, so I was in a position to witness more of the rudeness than some others may have seen. When the speakers began, both the teachers and the students, people continued to chat in the stands. There were a few times that I could barely hear the speakers over the surrounding noise. It became apparent that some people didn't want to hear the speakers and didn't really care if anybody else did. People were popping up and down and strolling back and forth. Women in shoes they didn't know how to walk in tromped up and down the bleachers wobbling this way and that. Kids were allowed to run amok and jump down the bleachers making the wood echo and shake.
And then, as if the noise and the general disruption wasn't enough, people began to leave after their student had been called. So sitting in the pathway, I had a steady stream of people filing past me, talking, stopping and blocking my view, stomping down the bleachers, and generally causing an uproar. I actually missed the name I was there to hear because of all of this. If you want to sneak out, OK, but this exodus was far from surreptitious. There was a complete and utter lack of consideration for anybody else there.
What has happened to good manners? Do they even exist anymore? Are they an antiquated notion that only weird people observe? Have we become so self-centered that we're incapable of considering how others may be impacted? From what I witnessed last night, I'd have to say the sad answer to that question is yes.
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