Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Declining Society, or Picky Complaining?

You know that conversation we have sometimes have about signs of a declining society? Well, I have to add signs from AIR TRAVEL to the list. If there is any time for a "MEMEMEMEMEMEMEEEE!!!!" attitude to display itself, it is in the airport. Now, I have to admit, one of my biggest pet peeves is also activated in this situation: people behaving badly in public and/or "obliviots".

Ok, so the reason air travel is a sign of a declining society is the reaction I received for doing a couple NICE things at the airport. The first one was on our recent trip down to FL. SDB and I boarded the plane, expecting to sit next to each other, blah blah blah. When we got to our assigned row, there was a mother and two young boys occupying the entire row. So, naturally, we talked about the situation: those are our seats; oh, I see, you want to sit with your boys; what, you have three entirely separate seats for your family?; oh, ok, I'll take your seat up there. So, No Big Deal. It's like giving up your seat on the bus for the person on crutches. Come on. But, when I got up to my seat, the woman I ended up next to acted like I should receive a medal of honor or something. She was gushing about how nice that was. And well, yeah, it was nice, but again, NO BIG DEAL. Was it so shocking that I didn't make a scene (picture foot stomping and "I WANT MY AISLE SEAT") and summon the flight attendant?

Ok. So, the second example was waiting for our delayed flight coming back to MI. (What? I don't have to be cold for another hour? OK.) There was a *choke* "typical" technology-laden family sitting across from us (not talking to each other or reading or people watching or anything). SDB and I noticed that they had spilled a soft drink and there was a pool of sugary goo about to travel to the dad's shoe. So, I got up, walked over, and told them about the drink. Again, shock and amazement that I helped them avoid stickiness. A big hearty THANK YOU and a second look at the strange creature that provided assistance without being provoked. Maybe they were more shocked that I noticed something outside of my little area. I don't know. I was glad to help, except that the next thing we noticed was dad (nearly sticky victim) and son (likely suspect) with their feet up on the chairs, while the mother (innocent bystander) was down on hands and knees with a tiny napkin trying to clean up the soda. UGH.

Anyway. Maybe I'm just looking for things to complain about. I'm kinda in that mood. But, seriously, shouldn't courtesy and helpfulness be the RULE, not the exception?


Animal said...

It absolutely should. All the time. Pay It Forward, bitches, with no expectation of recompensnezhia. But, you're totally right: it's an "I-Me-Mine" world out there, and anymore such signs of altruism are to be met with (at the least) deep suspicion.

sdb said...

kat didn't give the second example all of its due. The part I found most amazing was the son and father with feet up on furniture *gasp* (albeit nasty airport furniture) in a "London Bridges Falling Down" sorta way with mom underneath them mopping up. They weren't even noticing her down there exactly because they both had their noses in their laptop and iPod. It was like watching the 70's sitcom where the husband barely lifts his feet while the wife vacuums underneath.

sdb said...

I have to comment on the first example too. Let it be known that the mother was not very appreciative of the whole situation. It was more like an "I got here first and you are going to have to call the attendant to get me to move" situation. I think she felt entitled to our seats. I sat across the aisle from the threesome and the boys were well behaved but mom had a nose in the air attitude the whole time.

Nice that kat's new seatmate was the appreciative one.

Strangela said...

I think airports bring out the worst in people so I think kat is sadly the exception. The thing that makes me cringe is when spouses either start snapping at each other or at their kids.

Susan W said...

I hear ya Kat. Sadly, I was the one shocked to have kindness at the airport back in November. I had to travel with babygirl by myself (not highly recommended with a 5 month old). There were several occasions (security, getting through the gate) where I could have used an extra hand and people just walked by and/or ignored me. BUT when I was getting out of my seat holding my girl, a toy, and trying to snag the diaper bag...someone in the aisle actually bent down to pick up the bag and held it till I got off the plane. I was floored and gushed my appreciation.

I think, sadly, my expectations of others are just so low most of the time. I'm delighted you and "sdb" remain as sweet, giving and loving as ever! (of course you are!!!)