Some of you who read that title might assume that I am speaking of a woman who does not think of others. Well, in a way you would be correct. However, the actual point of this post is to bitch about people who are inconsiderate.
in·con·sid·er·ate (ĭn'kən-sĭd'ər-ĭt)Tonight we ate at an italian restaurant, Amalfi's in North Portland, on Freemont street. The restaurant was nice, had reasonable prices, and the food was very good. All in all, I would recommend it - even despite the experience we had while dining there.
- Thoughtless of others; displaying a lack of consideration.
We waited quite some time, approaching an hour, for outside seating. Outside, between the main entrance and the sidewalk there are two very neat tables with a gas firepit in the middle of each. We had walked past the restaurant a couple of times and thought it looked quite nice so we decided to try. We got our table and my family sat down to enjoy the wonderful weather and a good italian dinner.
Here is a satellite photo of the restaurant:
A lady in a minivan pulled in and parked (the blue rectangle) right in front of the table (the red dot), with three medium sized dogs in her van. Next to her parked a car with one dog in it. They got out, and left their windows down (the sun had gone down and it was only 70 degrees so the windows probably did not have to be down). As they walked inside the dogs started barking. Since the vehicles were parked immediately in front of the main entrance (the red line) , the dogs barked at everyone they could see. There were people waiting for tables, and people coming and going, and people walking by on the sidewalk. It became quite annoying while we were trying to eat and the four dogs we barking incessantly.
I got up and went inside to the waiting area where the lady was sitting. She was talking on her cell phone. I asked her if she could please roll up her windows or move her car, as her dogs would not stop barking. She immediately got irate and went out to the van. She sat in the van, started the engine for a moment or two, then shut it off. Then she rolled up the windows on one side of the van but left the other side down, and came back inside. Meanwhile inside her friend was arguing with me the whole time, claiming that I was simple harrasing them and that they didn't have to listen to me at all, and all of that sort of range of debate. The lady who was driving the van, upon returning to the lobby, started going off about how she had to park there because she was handicapped and that she had been in pain all day and was on morphine (why was she driving around then?)
I asked the manager, who was a nice young lady, to come over and then a fellow in a T Shirt and shorts who she called "Dad" - so I assume he was the owner or at least the head honcho - came over and joined in the conversation. I asked them to please ask her to move her vehicle. They said they would not, but that they would gladly "forgive" some of the cost of our meal since our experience was diminished.
I did NOT want something free, and I felt it was not their responsibility to take a financial hit for one lady who could not be considerate of the people around her. We decided to just pay our bill and leave.
So where am I going with all this? I am sure you care. In the interest of full disclosure, since I know this is a highly read blog and that it should make the rounds on Bill O'Reilly any minute now - I want to make sure that I am up front and honest...
I am a dog owner. I currently own two dogs, and have owned many over my life time. I also have one cat. I am a parent of a five year old. I ride motorcycles. Dogs, kids, and motorcycles. They all have great potential to annoy others. If you ask any of our friends - and since you are reading this I am assuming you are one of our friends so just ask the others if you want - you will find out that we have taken great pains to teach our child to be respectful and considerate of others. To not be obnoxious in public, and to watch where they go, and to say please and thank you, and to generally be aware of others around them. On my motorcycle I do not have loud pipes and I do not weave in and out of traffic nor ride with my high beams on. My dogs wear anti-barking collars when we are not home so they do not drive the neighbors insane, and we do not let them bark a lot when we are home...
I am not anti-dog.
But this lady was grossly inconsiderate of others, taking her three dogs out - who we all know will bark at people near the car - and insisting on parking right next to outdoor diners and the front main entrance. And on top of that not even being polite or apologetic when a person complains.
I know for a fact that if they had been MY dogs in MY car the manager would have asked me to move my vehicle. That she simply got her way because she claimed to be handicapped and she was a woman. But lets look at other scenerios shall we? ...
What if there had been a drunken man outside in the parking lot shouting loudly? The police would have been called and he would have been removed.
What if my child had been throwing a temper tantrum and screaming and jumping around? They would have asked us to please consider the other diners and take the child away until they could be calmed down.
What if I was in that same spot on a loud motorcycle revving the engine and making noise? They would have asked us to go elsewhere.
So why the difference in treatment? Why did she not have to move her van?
I don't have an answer for that. But I do have a little bit of insight into the sad state of our nation, or our society. People no longer understand what it means to be considerate - or they just don't think it is worth it anymore. We have lost our table manners. We have lost our ability to politely interact with other humans.
How many things can you count about people just being flat out rude, inconsiderate, or plain old obnoxious?
The person who insists on carrying on the loud cell phone conversation at the table. Even if we all did care about the last date you had and how it ended poorly, why do you have to tell the story RIGHT NOW and LOUDER than you would talk to the person next to you? Can't the rivetting tale of your trip to Macy's wait until after lunch?
The people in the airport who INSIST on having their entire family reuion (as touching as it may be) right in the middle of the 10 foot wide cattle-channel leaving the security checkpoint. Do you not see the bleary eyed traveling business man behind you who just wants to get home to his own bed and hug his own children? Could you not maybe step aside or move further towards baggage claim before you start swapping tales of Aunt Edna's Goiter?
The pedestrian who plods slowly across 4 lanes of traffic. Not the OLD or HANDICAPPED pedestrian. No, the young 20 something with the iPod who thinks that they are alone in the universe. Of course, you have every right to cross the street. In fact, as a fellow pedestrian I often cross streets myself. But you could at least ACT like you notice the 28 cars waiting to go as soon as you mosey on by... Maybe a little pep in the step.
The family who lets their 8 kids - and this actually happened to us - climb under other people's tables. Yes, the group next to us at a restaurant once decided that their Margaritas were more important than minding their kids, and let them run rough-shod over the entire rest of the restaurant. Even our four year old thought they were annoying. But at least THEY had a great time, and didn't even have to pay a baby-sitter!
When did all this start? The men with hats on at the table? The people who block intersections and the look at you like "what did I do?" when you beep at them? The kids who swear loudly on the train within earshot of everyone old or young? People who leave shopping carts right out in the middle of a spot or even the driveway? People who don't clean up after their pets? And at what age do you just get to cut in line (old people notoriusly just walk up and cut in line as though you owe them your spot because they have weak bladders and dentures).
Look, we all have the right to live how we want. We do. Diversity is awesome. Maybe I might not even like some of the things you like - Kick Ass, that is what is cool about the world! We should all be able to enjoy our walks, our kids, our pets, whatever! Life is good.
But it is NOT hard to just pay attention, don't block aisleways, use your turn signals, be polite. Watch your manners, control your voice, be nice out in public.
Realize that other people might not like your cigarrette smoke just as much as you might not like to be preached to about smoking.
No one seems to want to be considerate anymore. And people who do get annoyed or bothered seem too lazy or scared to mention it. Maybe if the people knew that talking loudly during the movie annoys us all they might not do it. Or maybe we are just so careless we would.
So you all get my point. I have beat the issue down to a pulp I imagine. But more and more I wish that we could go back to being gentlemen and ladies in public - even if behind closed doors we are all smacking eachothers asses and smoking cigars... Remember there are other people out there who may not like what you like. And some day you may be on the receiving end...
Satellite Photo from Portland Maps and the property detail for Amalfi's