Clash of generations by Susan Grimsdell

Mind blindness

Two recent incidents left me puzzled and also upset.  First, walking past the Olympic Pool in Newmarket where the footpath is not wide, and made narrower by obstructions along the curb, leading my blind friend who had her cane out in front of her as a signal to other pedestrians. 

We took up most of the width of the path.  Ahead of us, a young woman came to a sudden halt and started texting on her phone, in the middle of the path, impossible for us to pass her.  I called out “Excuse me”.  She looked round and said to me, “Haven’t you got any manners?  Don’t you know the word ‘please’?”.  I was taken aback – hello – she was blocking the footpath, she was the rude one, not me.  I replied that my friend was blind, but she then started effing at us, raving on about couldn’t we have said please.

Popcorn nightmare 

The second was yesterday at the movies.  Friends and I went to see “Banshees of Inisherin”, which turned out to be an excellent, completely emotionally engaging film. But it was ruined by a young person sitting next to me on my right, munching her way through what must have been the biggest possible bucket of popcorn. 

I was in a dilemma – clearly she had a right to eat it, and my first thought was to assume it wouldn’t go on for long, so I told myself to put up with it.  My two friends were on my left, not immediately next to her like me, and although they could clearly hear the disgusting chewing noises and rummaging, they also said nothing.  My problem was, at what point should I get up and find a seat far enough away.  It would mean pushing along the whole row to the aisle.  Sod’s law decreed that as soon as I did that, the popcorn would be finished.  I sat there fuming, and finally after perhaps 15 or 20 minutes, I asked her if she was nearly finished.  She said “Yes”, and I replied, “That’s good”.  Her jaws stopped and friends and I breathed a sigh of relief, but it wasn’t long before her hand was in the bucket again, scrabbling around for more. 

Is it them or is it me?

In both these examples the offenders were young.  I do not believe anyone of my generation would have been so thoughtless and inconsiderate.  So the question is – am I out of date, failing to understand that manners change, an old fogey in fact, or would even young people have been outraged at what I felt was these young people’s rudeness?

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