Good manners are scarce these days. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. Each family has its own standards, and this becomes readily apparent when people are thrown together in the work environment. Perhaps what I consider to be bad manners wouldn’t be considered such by others. You decide.
I have what should be a simple task every day: cleaning my teacup. It’s a more elaborate process for me than it is for others because I have to keep my own supplies, rather than using the ones next to the sink. As I’ve described previously, I put liquid soap and a napkin in my cup at my desk, and I take other folded napkins with me to the sink to dry the handle and turn the faucet on and off. The main problem comes from the dirty dishes that are left in the sink. The sink is large, so if there is a dish or two on one side, I can use the other side. But sometimes there are dishes on both sides, and I have to move dirty dishes with a plastic baggie to have an area for washing. Not only do people leave their dirty dishes in there, they leave large amounts of food waste scattered about the basin. Where is that not considered bad manners? I’ve heard non-germophobes complain about it, so I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.
The ill-mannered co-workers have outdone themselves in recent weeks. Are not children taught to wait their turn in line? I’ll admit that I take longer than most to wash my cup, but it’s not so long that others need become impatient. One day as I was soaping up my cup, a woman came up and asked if she could use the water. I wanted to tell her to wait her turn, but I didn’t. She pulled the faucet to the other side of the sink and rinsed out her dish. This mainly caused a problem for me because she could easily splatter her germs on me. I had to pause and take a step back while she did this. So the message that I got from her was that what she had to do was more important than what I had to do.
What that woman did is nothing compared to what a different woman did a few days ago. It was shortly before 5:00 p.m., and I was at the sink. The woman came up and asked if she could put hot water in her cup so that she could wash it after she came out of the restroom. But she didn’t wait for an answer. She took over the faucet, filled her cup, and left it in the sink! As she was filling it, for some reason I thought she was going to leave it on the counter. Although her behavior would have been rude on any occasion, it was particularly bad this time because there were dirty dishes on the other side of the sink. I am not ordinarily one to make a scene, and I didn’t exactly do that this time, as there was no one else around. But as she walked to the restroom, I said, “What the heck?” I hoped it was loud enough for her to hear. My cup was soaped up; how was I going to rinse it? I hesitated for a few seconds, but it was nearly time to leave, so I had to take action. The only open area was directly over the drain. I don’t like to wash over it because I feel that the water tends to splash more there. But what choice did I have? I washed and rinsed my cup with extra care, and I was able to avoid any splashing. That doesn’t mean that it made her actions acceptable.
I think I am not being presumptuous in saying that all of you readers agree with me. Dealing with our ill-mannered co-workers is not easy.