I probably should have used Title Case capitalization in that headline, as it is part of a book title. What book? It’s Dr. PM Forni’s, of Choosing Civility fame, second book, and it’s called The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude.
Anyhoo. I saw this book title today and told my friend and Choose Civility Partner Cherie about it. She scowled slightly and said, “Rude, according to who?” Maybe she said, “to whom.” I don’t remember.
Interesingly, we happened to be standing outside of the Columbia Borders just then: the same place where, a couple weeks back, I had one of my biggest ever You’re-Rude-No-You’re-Rude incidents.
Here’s a little story without a happy ending.
I was at said Borders when a rather handsome man, about my age, and carrying a girl about three years-old came in to the cafe. He put this child on the counter. Not on her butt. On her feet. Her feet (shoes) on the counter. The same counter where people put their hands, which they then put to their mouths as they eat and drink various and sundry things one buys at a cafe.
The child started to meander — as little children do. She leaned over to the area protected by the plexiglas screen. She moved around on the counter. How fun to be up so high!
This is all during prime flu season, mind you. I think bottom of shoes and I think spores, bacteria, germs, viruses, protozoa from animal feces. Ya know, icky things.
So, I consciously and intentionally chose to be rude. I really did. “Dude, I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t put your daughter’s feet and shoes on a counter top where I put my hands.”
He glared. I repeated my position. He glared.
We happened to be already packing up, but he glared at me some more and said to me, “I find you very rude.”
“I know you do,” I responded, rather upbeat, actually. “I find you rude, too. The difference, as I see it, is that my rudeness impacts you. Your rudeness is a public health issue.”
And I left.
He probably glared some more as I did.
So, back to the book The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know what Dr. Forni would prescribe. Probably not to be rude in the first place.
I don’t know. I did not feel like being polite in this situation. I actually wanted to give this man a memory so that he’d consider his actions in future situations.
What about you? What do you do when people are rude?