evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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Some Thoughts On Rudeness

I wasn't sure what I was going to write today, but I found this entry in my LJ "in process" folder:

If I had a shiny phaser,
I could have a world of... um...
What’s a word that rhymes with “phaser” and means “fun”?

September, 2005

Like Scott Adams, I’d like a phaser. Particularly in moments like the one around 4:00 a.m., when someone was having a cigarette and a loud cell-phone conversation just outside the building.

Moments like that are so socially awkward. I’ve just been woken up by smoke and a strange voice, so I’m a touch cranky. I don’t want to confront the Rude Person, as they are often surprisingly unappreciative when their rudeness is pointed out. So I just shut the window and try to go back to sleep (which I have a hard time doing anyway, and doubly so when woken by a Rude Person). I haven’t worked out my Unified Field Theory of Courtesy yet, but there will be something in it about “Don’t impose your tastes and behaviors on others.” The tricky bit is that I still want to allow people their freedom. I’m a big fan of Freedom. As much as I disdain people who make loud cell-phone calls in public, I don’t believe the answer is legislating the parameters of where and when phone conversations can happen.

But if I had a phaser! I’d set it to “Stun,” naturally. I don’t want to hurt anybody, just give them a “Time Out” so they can think about what they’ve done that someone might want to stun them for. Of course, Rude People probably would assume it was totally random and unrelated to their behavior (like when a friend of mine was trying to train her kitten to not climb up on the shelves by squirting her, but the kitten would just hunker down with an expression of “oh, great, now THIS is happening again,” and not seem to grasp that her actions were related to the unpleasantness). With people, though, one can leave a note. I'd have to print up a bunch of them, that said something like “I'm sorry that your lack of consideration for others forced me to stun you. Perhaps if you refrain from being rude in the future, all this could be avoided.”

Do you think that the Star Trek crew were ever tempted to write things on the foreheads of people they stunned, or draw on mustaches? I know I would be.

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