Boorish behavior is everywhere and things seem to be going from bad to worse. Is it that time of the year, the ocean air or are we all becoming more rude, demanding and insensitive — like New Yorkers?
I’m not talking road rage here (saving that for another column), but people all around us every day who think their world is more important than yours.
There’s the line cutters at movie theaters, restaurants and grocery stores. Some just ease their way in front of you while others just push you aside. Say anything and it’s, “I didn’t think you’d mind.” Say anything more, you run the risk of a real confrontation. Then there’s the seat saver. In a theater, concert, or banquet, there’s always a person trying to hold eight or 10 seats. “These are all saved for my friends coming later.” You end up fuming in the cheap seats while the “friends” stroll in at their leisure.
There’s a woman in a gray Honda SUV who takes her child to day care at the local YMCA. This thoughtless “mommy” pulls up and parks across the Sixth Street sidewalk every morning around 8 a.m. — blocking it for pedestrians and especially for persons in wheelchairs.
Besides the clowns with the ringing cell phones in movie theaters and, worse yet, religious services, there’s the neighbor who stands on the sidewalk under my window shouting into her cell phone two or three times a day. She apparently doesn’t want anybody where she lives overhearing her stupid and boisterous conversations, so she spreads them around the neighborhood. Asking her to “take it somewhere else” got nothing but dirty looks and gestures until I finally went downstairs, hung out nearby and made loud comments about her rudeness. She got the hint and is under someone else’s window.
Apparently our schools are the ivory tower for boorish and inconsiderate behavior — not from students but parents.
A series of letters posted on the Samohi-PALS electronic bulletin board last month criticized some Santa Monica High School parents for throwing their weight around for the benefit of their kids and to the detriment of everyone else. One post said, “There is a group of parents who volunteer not for the greater good of the community but for the singular objective of creating an advantage for their own child.
“These all arose because a few select parents who are heavily involved with the music programs nudged administrators to place their kids in the more select ensembles — moving them in front of student musicians who had scored better in auditions.”
Terry Sakow, the director of bands, responded with his own post. “We have been pressured by administration at the request of a few parents to change the placements of some students, and in some cases this has caused the displacement of more deserving students … . The quality of each ensemble has been compromised, affecting all of our students. So what was a very fair process to begin with has now been politicized, and is out of the hands of the band directors.
“This brings up some very serious questions. What message is this sending to our students? … The students that were placed as a result of parent influence have only achieved an empty accomplishment, and have only contributed to the destruction of the integrity of the ensemble … . I find it rather disheartening that several parents have handled many issues in this fashion.”
Another parent responded to Sakow.
“I have had it with the parent politics in Santa Monica … . I noticed that the parents who were volunteering weren’t doing it because it was the right thing to do but because they could use their influence to get what they thought was ‘best’ for their child and their child only. It is even talked about among those parents how they volunteer so their child deserves the ‘BEST’ teacher or the best part in a play or the solo in a concert. The parents are bully’s (sic), yes that’s right I said it, BULLY’S and their children for the most part think they are better than others because of this.”
Worse than the bullying parents are the chicken-livered school administrators who give into this hugger. Unfortunately, talented and deserving young musicians are being robbed by both selfish parents and indifferent school authorities.
Then there was the recent Samohi-PALs post from someone on last month’s Samohi graduation decorating committee.
“We need your BLUE AGAPANTHUS, too. They’re blooming everywhere right now in town … in your yard, on the medians, in the parks, at the offices, banks, grocery store. You can’t miss ‘em! So, grab your clippers, day or night … . And drop ‘em off at (address withheld). There are buckets w/water right inside the gate.”
Suggesting stealing flowers growing on public or other people’s private property? Shame. And, no brains.
Bill Bauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.