“Be courteous, be obliging, but don’t give yourself over to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow trade” ~George Eliot

“Be courteous, be obliging, but don’t give yourself over to be melted down for the benefit of the tallow trade” ~George Eliot

I could almost say this is a ‘get off my lawn’ moment but I’m not bothered by kids, I’m bothered with adults. I think maybe kids have a handle on this “internet thing” and “the email,” (as those who have not used it long, which seem to be many in this neck of the woods) call it around here.

In the last 24 hours I’ve been on the receiving end of more net insanity and rudeness than in the entire last year. I’ve been on the net for …well I started in 1988. I’ve done BBS’s , message boards and run email lists. I’ve done it all. And I’m pretty disgusted with adults who don’t know how to behave on “the email.”

Kids do. Kids know already that you are judged by how you communicate in the ether. Kids know that words carry all the power because you can’t see faces or gestures when you are firing off emails or blathering on on a message board. In the last 24 hours I’ve been threatened with some sort of reprisal for pointing out that after making SPECIAL arrangements for me to meet someone in an inconvenient location because she was “too scared” to come to my house (in a very nice neighborhood btw, but hey, I know how it is to be nervous I used to live on 14th and Mission in San Francisco, this chick would last 4 minutes there) that the fact she stood me up, didn’t call, didn’t email and didn’t apologize after pelting me with emails all day because she really wanted to buy that phone– Deep Breath–well there is something wrong with me for pointing out that she was being rude. Good lord and the place she had me meet her is a freaking ARMPIT.

Let’s get this straight. I don’t care that she didn’t buy the phone. I care that she was too rude to write a 10 second email and say “sorry I can’t make it.” That’s all. That’s it. It is a small courtesy, that even after the fact would have been acceptable. I mean, I put myself out to make it easier on her and she couldn’t pick up the phone when I called and say “no I don’t want it anymore?” She made up an obvious lie and then when I called her on it, she went off on me and became threatening enough that I’ve compiled the information for the police. Sheesh.

This was the second time something asinine happened over this phone that day. Another woman pelted me with emails and had to have it “RIGHT NOW.” And then when I asked for a little time so that I might shower, she got snippy and went away. A third woman did something similar when I wouldn’t drive to Bentonville at 10:30 at night to sell her the phone. She made a point of being pissy to me when I emailed her the next day to see if she was still interested and that I might be able to send the phone with my husband to Bentonville, to make it easier for her.

I don’t get what is wrong with these people. Are they so new to email to think that what they do won’t be remembered? So what if the armpit girl comes up for a job with any of my computer friends? Does she think I’m not going to tell them all about her behavior? And the old lady who had to have the phone so badly that I needed to drive out at 10:30 at night–does she think she’s more special than the rest of us, so she gets to be rude for no real reason? And god forbid you wait to take a shower before selling someone a phone.

I’ve heard of cases where people have been nasty on message boards and eBay sales and then interviewed with people who knew about or were on the receiving end of the nastiness. Do you think they got the job? Nope. And this chick that’s decided to threaten me with “not physical” violence–I mean how hard is it for me to call the police and turn over the information or call her work (easy enough to find out).

What I find shocking is that I’m back living in the place where manners and courtesy are supposed to matter and in the space of 24 hours I’ve dealt with three very nasty, rude women. I spent 14 years in San Francisco and 4 in Chicago and I have to say that in terms of rudeness on the internet (in terms of a one to one transaction like freecycle, craigslist or local email sale lists) my home town is coming up lacking big time. That southern courtesy just isn’t there.

Honestly it makes me angry. It takes so little to be courteous. So little. I was in labor with the Bean and had been bidding on an ebay auction. I emailed the guy, told him what was going on and that he could absolutely count on me to pay if I won, or if he needed to cancel my bid I totally understood. But I emailed in WHILE IN LABOR. These…these, discourteous trollops who have nothing so pressing going on are unable to be the barest bit polite. Did their parents neglect this part of their education entirely? Do they not know right from wrong?

The internet is a goldmine. The internet is an incredible tool and a wonderful way to stay in touch with people you might not be physically close to any longer. But these newbies need to learn that it will eventually come back on you. Either when you try for a job, or maybe someone you’ve been nasty to ends up being your new boss. Or perhaps just karmically.

Or maybe all these people are Christian? Then what is their excuse? Isn’t this wrong under the tenets of Christianity? I’ve been to church, no one there said ” piss on your neighbor before she pisses on you.” Is it the perceived anonymity of the internet the old anonymous+internet=asshole joke? Because while we all seem to be anonymous, while we all seem to be more separated from each other than we were, it just isn’t reality. We’re all connected–by the tubes of the internet, by our daily dealings, by our guiding principles.

I guess unless you don’t have any, like these three chicks today. Feh. Or maybe they think they are too good to need manners? Or they are entitled to their bad behavior? This bad behavior is appalling and pathetic.

Our daughter is polite in public. She lacks a bit at home, though we are working on that. The problem at home is that she’s an only child and we tend to speak to her as a little adult. But in public and at school, she’s been highly praised. I’m forced to wonder what these women are teaching their children.

“Our children learn a great deal from what they see us say and do,” said Paula Levy, a family therapist in Norwalk, Conn., and mother of four ages 16-23. “They internalize these lessons even if they don’t acknowledge what we are teaching them. When they are in the comfort of their own home they relax and act as they wish. When they are with others, they want to be accepted and impress, so they use all the skills they have learned.”

I’m just betting Jamey, sue and mommy of 5 haven’t been speaking politely in front of their children. My husband and I say please and thank you to each other. Yes after nearly 10 years of marriage. When we get angry we go to our separate corners and speak to each other when we can be coherent. Perfect we aren’t but I’m going to go out on a limb and say neither of us would behave as these women did today.

So I hope you all get to experience from others what I’ve experience from you today. And I hope you all learn some manners. Shame on you.

Miss Otis Regrets

Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, Madam,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today,
She’s so sorry to be delayed,
But last evening down in Lover’s Lane she strayed, Madam,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today, madam,

When she woke up and found that her dream of love had gone, Madam,
She ran to the man who led her so far astray,
And from under her velvet gown,
She drew a gun
And she shot her lover down, Madam,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.

And the moment before she died,
She lifted her lovely head and cried, “Oh, Madam,
Miss Otis regrets she’s unable to lunch today.”