October 28, 2013

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools

Call me old-fashioned, call me naïve, call me whatever you might, but I just don’t understand abject rudeness. It catches me off guard every time and I find myself wanting to help, to soothe, to understand why someone would treat another that way.

The occasional comments are a little easier. I still do a double-take, finding it hard to believe someone would be so…. well, rude. But I can excuse the occasional slip. The person wasn’t feeling well. They have problems at home. They have too much stress and not enough support. Many times the offender will circle around and apologize later. They know their actions were uncalled for. They understand they have hurt someone either through carelessness or selfishness, distractedness, or some other fleeting character trait. We all do it from time to time, whether we intend to or not.

I have more trouble dealing with the chronically rude people. I hurt, not only being on the receiving end of it, but I hurt for others when I see them take that hit. And, yes it is a hit. Such rudeness is an assault to the other person. It’s a statement that the speaker just doesn’t care about them. Sometimes it’s a statement of intent to hurt, to humiliate or to downgrade.

My emotions are divided on this. A part of me is outraged. Who do you think you are, Mr. or Ms. Offender, that you can just dump your rotten attitude on someone else? That you can let a door slam behind you as someone follows you into a building? That you can stare silently at someone who says Good Morning to you? That you can make jokes about age when there is only one older person (your target) in the room to whom that joke is an attack? People like that have a lot of nerve, and a generous helping of self-entitlement to think that they occupy the high ground and can hand out judgments or punishments or whatever they think they are doing by being so clever and offensive.

Then there is the other voice inside….the one that feels sorry for the person. I can’t conceive of a happy, healthy person treating another with such malice. Therefore, the Offender must not be truly happy and healthy, even if things look fine on the outside. As the old expression goes, “There’s something bad wrong there.”

Because this situation bothers me so much when I see it, I feel responsible to do something. The well-placed word, a kinder example, a moralistic anecdote serves for the direct approach; patience and prayer for the quiet approach. Always something. A word to heal the hurt they cause and another word to heal the hurt they suffer. A mention of thanksgiving to God that my own burdens in life have not turned me into someone who wants to target and hurt others. May all who are so blessed, be grateful.

© 2013, J. Cools

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