Incivility has become quite common in public places. Take me for example. During my pregnancy with my first son I experienced many acts of discourteousness and responded in like-fashion. In one instance I was eight months along and doing a late night shopping trip. I was tired and wanted to go home after a long day working. There was only one lane open and it was a long line. A new checkout lane opened and I got in that line while my husband maneuvered the cart to follow me. A man sprinted to get in front of me, but I got there before he did. The man tried to go around me with his cart because I didn’t have anything in my hands. He gave me a long-winded lecture about how standing in line when you have nothing is wrong. I explained that my husband was coming right behind me. The argument escalated when he threatened to push me out of the way and bumped me with his cart. I threatened to hit him if he hit me with the cart again. When he threatened to call the cops I responded quite matter-of-factly, “They won’t get here in time.” That obviously wasn’t the best way to handle it, but I got through the line and went about my business with no further problems from him.
In another instance I was in a shopping center during the same pregnancy. We were walking into an aisle where a man and a woman stood arguing about which of them should take responsibility for their children, yelling back and forth “They’re YOUR kids!” The two children were in the aisle kicking and hitting each other. When one of the children kicked me in the stomach, my husband and I became concerned about our unborn child. I made the remark that they needed their butts smacked for behaving that way. The man took offense to my observation and ending the fight with his wife, immediately claimed “his” kids. He said he would punch me for threatening his kids. After some vulgarities being hurled back and forth between us, his wife led him by the shirt collar one way and my husband led me by the hand the other way. We both continued to hurl insults and threats at each other all through the store and in the end looked no more mature than his children had.
A more recent example would be during a trip to Costco with my family. My husband and I were walking into the store with our two young boys when a very large man shoved my oldest out of his way. He walked off without an apology or an “excuse me”. I stated that he was just being an asshole and he overheard my comment. Deciding he had enough time to argue with me, but not enough to have said excuse me to my son, he started hurling insults at me. When I told him he could kiss my ass he told me it would take all day. I responded with, “have you looked in a mirror lately?” and, surrounded by the laughter of the people around us, he stalked away angrily.
Of course, I’m not the only uncivilized person in today’s society. Take for example the customers that come into my husband’s place of employment. A man walked in a couple of days ago and told my husband to fuck off because he couldn’t have another free phone. He had dropped his phone in the toilet and since that phone had been free; he wanted another phone for free. There is also the instance where two parents came in yelling profanities at my husband because their children, who were dating, had been sex-ting each other and they thought the phone company should be responsible. This is just a sampling of the people my husband deals with during the week.
The sad truth is that you need only walk out of your front door to find examples of the incivility of people in public places. Incivility has become so common in public places that it has become a normal part of life.