Gary in Fla.: I'm here sitting in Terminal A (Gates 31-39) at the Newark Int'l Airport waiting for a flight home. The gate area on Sunday morning is not busy, not crowded, and there are literally hundreds of empty seats in this area. I purposely find an out-of-the-way seat near a window near no one, pull out the laptop to log in and check mail while I wait and get a little work done. I also call my wife (on her way to church, this fine Sunday morning). Then, out of nowhere, a lady with a book and a loud, hacking cough sits three seats down from me. She's so loud my wife asks why I'm sitting so close to someone who's sick. And that's what ticks me off -- out of all the empty seats in this quiet gate area, does this woman have to sit down near me with her book and cough? I grab my briefcase, jacket and laptop and mumble loudly as I move, "Why do I have to move?" Obliviot. Idiot. Inconsiderate jerk. Moron.
Brenda in cyberspace writes: Mike, I noticed in your most recent "Grrr" column that Barb "in cyberspace" sent an e-mail regarding her concern about the possibility of cell phone usage on a plane becoming allowed (a concern I share). I'll give Barb the same advice I heard a while back from a famous radio talk show host: If talking on a cell phone ever becomes legal during flight and the person sitting next to you, in front of you, etc., starts yapping loudly on a cell phone, take out the nearest book, magazine, whatever and start reading aloud loudly until they get off the phone. Hopefully, they'll get the point quickly and hang up the freakin' phone.
Ron says we have nothing to fear: Barb, in answer to your fears about cell phones used in flight: I teach cellular technology for a global infrastructure manufacturer. Cell towers have a relatively short footprint, normally less than 2.5 miles. The antennas are pointed slightly downward. These cell towers cannot communicate with a cell phone in an airplane traveling at 450 to 600 miles per hour while flying overhead. Until we completely change the technology to something not yet discovered or airlines place small transceivers for each cellular carrier on each aircraft, we will not have anyone making cell phone calls in the air.
Gary R. in Oklahoma City: With ever increasing frequency I am seeing these unfortunate progeny of the liberated '60s generation making policy decisions for the rest of us. By fiat more than choice, I too am a product of the "groovy" liberated generation. But, alas, I grew up. Some have not, and they scare me. The "Attorneyots" who think child rapists should be treated instead of incarcerated; the "sensitive" judges who empathize with them; the libertines of a thousand persuasions: all are dangerous and frightening in their Obliviotism. I feel so "uncool" these days.
Janice in N.J.: Mike, can you tell me why Star Jones Reynolds' breast lift operation recovery is considered headline news?
--No, Janice, for the life of me I can't.
Brian C. in Greensboro, N.C.: What used to be practiced as "common courtesy" has become uncommon. We, as a culture, seem to be running hard and fast down the road of lost values. In the end, the only value left is ourselves. Until we can realize that there is more to life that matters than "self," it will get worse. We have traded the Golden Rule ("Do unto others...") for the Rule of Self-Interest, based in pride. In contradistinction, if we can practice "uncommon courtesy," perhaps it can become common again.
Julie B. on a prostitot in training: My husband and I were at the mall about a year ago, and saw a little girl and boy with people who looked like their grandparents. I didn't pay much attention until my husband asked if I noticed what the little girl was wearing. This 8- or 9-year-old girl was wearing a skirt (normal length) with a SHEER white blouse with a bra-type top underneath. How is this appropriate for a little girl? What was especially odd was that the adults and the young boy in the group were dressed extremely conservatively. Grrr to whoever bought that outfit and dressed that little girl in it (or allowed her to dress that way!)
Jason G. in cyberspace: I found the latest Grrr read particularly appropriate for today's society. More often than not these days, people are all about confrontation. Sayings like, "Do you know who I am?" or the time-honored, "I make more money in one day than you make in a year" type of drivel are just out of control. It's just nice to put the piece out there, even if the majority who read it are oblivious to their self-important lifestyle. Following the mob mentality is easier for most, though. A wise man once said, "Take what 95 percent of the population does their whole lives, then do the exact opposite and you will turn out far better." Nuggets of truth there.
Grant B. writes: Mike, I understand the subway dilemma. The easy solution is to walk up or down keeping to the right -- just like we drive -- then all get where they are going. Sure it is slightly slower than getting the mob going your way, but in the end it would work. Most of us are just fighting our way through with no intention of cutting anyone off, but it sure happens.
Mike T. in Dallas: I'm glad someone else is aware of this and even calling people out for it. Children are not taught manners any longer, nor have they been for a long while, apparently. They're taught to look out for No. 1, and they do a damn good job of it, too.
Dennis in Rochester, N.Y.: What bugs me a lot is when there is a problem at an airport and two planes almost collide, it is called a "near miss". A near miss? As opposed to a full miss? If there ever was a term that was not deserved, then this is it. How about calling it what it is: a near hit.
Robert S. sums up this column: Mike, you bring up many good points and unfortunately I do not have the time to address each and every one. I will say you are on the right track. I live in the Northeast and as I'm sure you are well aware, the life pace here is fast. Too fast for our own good. It seems that everyone is in a hurry, driving too fast, just to get there, rude to strangers because their time and attitudes are more important then everyone else's. Talking on their cell phones, too loudly, about nothing. It drives me nuts when I see all these people with their new wireless hands-free devices surgically attached to their ears. Does the word nerd come into play? Why is it that these people think they are so much more important than everyone around them, just because they have a newfangled piece of technology glued to their faces?
People are rude in this area where the life pace is too fast. Drive-thru, not fast enough. Supermarket lines, too slow, traffic, too slow. Hurry, rush, get out of my way!
I saw first-hand the devastation caused by the Sept. 11 Twin Towers attack. That day, looking at Manhattan from a New Jersey hilltop, a black cloud of destruction rising from the rubble, I couldn't believe what I saw.
But then, something amazing happened. People were being nice to each other. Holding doors open instead of letting them slam in the face of the person following. Allowing people to pass them on roads. People were open to idle conversation, where normally it's a "screw you" attitude.
Is this what it takes for the American populous to slow down a minute and be kind to their neighbors? It's almost like a blackout, where everyone gets together outside their homes to see what is going on. Polite conversation ... from neighbors you never see otherwise. It's almost like bad drivers acting according to the law, but only because there is a police car within eyesight.
To my dismay, these tiny acts of kindness lasted about two weeks. 9/11? Old news, time to get back to being a miserable, self-centered, "I'm the King (or Queen), cause I drive a leased, 2006 Hummer, that gets horrible gas mileage, takes up two spaces in a parking lot and is bigger than your car, so move, I'm on an important phone call with my new wireless headset to my nanny to find out which fast food junk my kids want so I can shut them up for a couple hours."
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