This post is going to make me sound like an ornery and old person but I write it nonetheless. I’ve often heard that compared to earlier generations, people in our society in general are less kind, more self-centered, and less compassionate. I’m hoping this isn’t the case but there are some examples of this that you see everyday that work towards proving that point.
A normal person is forced to go out and interact with other people in the public. This is unavoidable unless you’re some shut in who shies away from all contact. In dealing with others in the public, it can reveal a lot about a person. One benchmark I’ve come up with is how many people hold open doors for others as they themselves go through a door. This is going to sound like a cliche but when I was younger, it seemed like people held open doors for others a lot more than happens today. It doesn’t even take that much more effort or time. When you’re walking through a door, just look behind you and give the door one more little push so it stays open for a second longer so that someone behind you can catch the door themselves before it swings closed. You don’t even have to stop walking or slow down. I instinctively do it by habit if I’m in a public area.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been behind someone and we’re both going through the same door. The person ahead of me will open the door just enough to get themselves in and the door swings shut right in my face. I find it plainly rude and disrespectful when people do that. I can’t help but think that person either had a poor upbringing or is self-centered to the point that they believe it’s a waste of time to help others. Just from my informal observations in the local Vancouver area, I’ve noticed some trends. First, older people tend to do the right thing more often than younger people. This kinda reinforces my belief that the current or near future generation will destroy civilization from the inside out. Second, more courteous people can be found in downtown Vancouver as opposed to the suburbs. You could also read this observation as people are nicer as you move west from the suburbs. The worst offender in my small sample size are the people at Metrotown, a mall in suburban Vancouver. Metrotown is filled with young people who mostly give off a ghetto vibe and to be clear, I don’t mean people of colour. No matter what colour of the skin, the majority of the people I see there seem like the dregs of society. It doesn’t matter if they’re poor or rich, Metrotown just attracts the trash. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had people fail to extend the common courtesy of holding a door open a fraction of a second at Metrotown. I remember one time, this girl was in front of me, and she actually got the courtesy from the stranger in front of her. She responded by scurrying through the door with her hands and arms held tight against her body, leaving me with the door slamming shut in my face. She didn’t even look behind her. Bitch, pay it forward.
I’m quite tempted to bring a video camera to Metrotown and just film all these idiots at the mall entrances. I bet it wouldn’t even take me a minute to spot the first offender. Don’t be part of the problem, hold the door open for the person behind you.