Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Because You Are Polite

by Ginger Philbrick

As I write this, I have returned from the very happy occasion of my granddaughter’s graduation from a large university. My overriding emotion is one of pride and joy.

However, the ceremony, which included several inspiring speakers sharing advice on how to live a successful and happy life, ended with acts of audience-wide stunning acts of rudeness.

There were over 550 graduates and approximately 100 on-stage faculty and honored guests. At the end of the presentations, it was announced that the on-stage group would be led out of the auditorium first and then the graduates would follow.

As the recessional music began and the faculty started the long procession from the stage, the audience, ignoring instructions, started moving into the line of those exiting.  People in the four balconies began exiting also in noisy groups. Below them, those we came to honor were still working their way up the aisles. The triumphant music was drowned out by the voices of a massive throng, not violent but shamedly disrespectful.

I understand the tricks our minds play, making us believe that if we don’t get to our parked cars before others get to theirs we might never get home. I also understand the pull we feel to visit the nearest restroom after sitting for a long while. But I don’t understand the selfishness that won’t spare a few minutes to allow the last graduate, or the last actor, or the last performer to leave before attending to those concerns.

As I looked around, I realized our small party was the only group of humans left on all the balconies. Meanwhile, on the massive auditorium floor below, three graduates who were the last to leave disappeared from our view, wearing caps and gowns and entering a world that still has lessons to learn about the elementary acts of caring.

Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at [email protected].

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team

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