Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What Can I Say? I'm A Sucker For Manners

I almost had a throwdown with two 17-year-old bitches yesterday.

Okay, not really a throwdown because I prescribe more to the Gandhi school of thought and I don't think I've hit anyone since my sister Brigid and I got into a fight over a purple mohair sweater in 1992. But last night I was about two seconds away from letting the Z snaps fly -Oh, nah, Girl. No you dihnt! all because a pair of twirps in matching, cotton strapless American Apparel dresses tried to cut in line at the restroom.

You see, I am a purist in the sense of manners and politeness.

I have an Emily Post book on my bookshelf and my mother started weaning me from acting like a Goop at a young age. I know all about the silverware on the table, how to actually use it without looking like I'm eating at a truckstop on I-68 outside of Morgantown, West Virginia and I am hard core about sending notes of thanks after receiving gifts.

Oh, and I -love- to say Please and Thank You. Big time.

So cutting in line is one thing I don't tolerate. Especially when it happens to me.

Last night everybody and their mother decided to go to Riverbend for the Dave Matthews Band concert. The night was a sweaty mess of body odors, drunk girls and people trying to be cooler than everybody else. Lots of popped collars, Reef sandals and cargo shorts.


I did my part to join the club, downing a few choice cold beers in the parking lot (Blue Moons sans orange slices) and decided I wanted to void body cavity number one before Dave and friends took to the stage.

Ohmygod the line for the restroom was about as long as the checkout lane at Wal-Mart 5 minutes before closing time.

Naturally, I was one of the older chicks waiting for the bathroom, but not the oldest. The woman in front of me probably had six or seven years on me, firmly planted in her mid to late 30s. We were surrounded by the young, the nubile, the stupid. There we were Old Girl and me, waiting and waiting until a gaggle of these Screaming Mimis hopped over us in line to stand next to a chick they knew. She was a bit older but apparently knew these little girls from high school. It was obvious she was the one who apparently went on to college - the little girls still had a few years before they'd be celebrating with pints of Peach Schnapps (kids don't drink wine coolers anymore, do they?) at Project Graduation. The reunion was pretty much what you'd expect - lots of screaming, hugging, air kisses and other obnoxious pleasantries that grate on me like a new, shiny microplane on a fresh lemon.

Old Girl turned around to me and said, "So. What do you think these girls are doing?" Eyebrow raised. Lips pursed. She and I were openly discussing the tween set's secret maneuver to pee before us. And I wasn't having any of it.

"Uh, you've probably never seen a preppie fight before, but I'm ready to throw down."

The older, cooler, College tween shot us a look of frustration and bewilderment I don't know what's going on here! I am sooo not a part of their group! Really! Ohmigod!

The little girls bubbled on without acknowledging the fray that was moments from unraveling before us.

Old Girl sharply turned to the gaggle of giggling girls, "What's going on here?" Who responded with their not-so-innocent-but-more-assertive-in-their-first-foray-in-adult-conflict, "We're in line to pee."

The deafening silence that followed was the exclamation point of the moment, until I looked down (at 5'8", I towered over the little girls, even in my sandals) with a terse "Yeah. And you were behind us."

The scrappy one of the American Apparel pair looked up at me, hair askew and held back in a haphazard pony tail, and delivered the best come-back she had.


As much as I would have loved to have responded with an Uh-huh, I stood firm with my chorus of "Yeah, you were behind us."

Old Girl nodded her head, eyes squinting and chin jutted out.

Cool College Girl was getting flustered. Stand with them and look like another tween. Stand with us and be mature about things, but lose her air of coolness.

Ah, but she's a smart girl, that Cool College Girl (who apparently is going in to her Sophomore year at The University of Kentucky. Smart girl, indeed).

"Just get behind them. (Raising hand in talk-to-the-hand pose) Just get behind them."

Cool College Girl turned to Old Girl and me, apologizing for her little girls and all their big shortcomings.

I think maybe she learned a lesson that night.

Being rude isn't cool. Even when you're dressed to the nines and travel in packs like rabid wolves.

Sometimes I wish other mothers made manners a priority like my mom did. There's something about being genteel and kind and knowing one's place in this world. Manners are an important tool to peacefully co-exist with the rest of society. Manners are about respect and patience and dignity. I just wish more people felt the same way about etiquette.

Thank you.


JAB said...

I'm right there with you! I had a similar experience (about which I posted) yesterday at Subway.

You've made me feel much better - it's not my age that made me want to smack them, it's that I have common sense and am normal!!!

Kate The Great said...

JAB- there are some little runts out there in the world who need to spend some hardcore time with Martha Stewart or my mom... that would be an appropriate punishment for the atrocious behavior happening these days.