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Oh, the humanity!!!

Oh, the humanity!

Recently, I dropped by our local outlet of a national big box store, where our pharmacy is located, to pick up a prescription for our son.  It wasn't ready, of course, so I walked across the store to the other front corner of the premises where there is a small Starbuck's, better to kill 15 minutes or so with a coffee and scone.  Normally, I would avoid this pervasive purveyor of coffee made with beans over-roasted-to-the-point-of-tasting-burnt and opt for an independent cafe, but it was handy.  

Once I'd paid for my order and sat down, I people watched for a few minutes before recoiling in horror.  Keep in mind, the parking lot is full of huge, late model SUVs, similar cars, and everyone has a new or very recent iPhone in his or her hand, so it's not like we're talking about the down and out, needy, and indigent here.  Quite the opposite actually given the extra large shopping carts overflowing with stuff.  And much of that needless if we're honest with ourselves.

Descriptors like suave, polished, sophisticated, cultivated, and urbane hardly come to mind though based on the appearances and behaviors shambling by the corner table from which I observed.  Good God!  People really ought to pay a little more attention to what they seem like than has become the accepted norm!

Between you and me, I don't really think the overt and much vaunted casualization of society the last 30+ years or so has had the kind of outcome that promotes anything approaching social cohesion, much less self-respect, and even the most basic consideration for others.  It has certainly also contributed to a host of completely self-centered attitudes when it comes to things you just don't do in public.  You can fill in the blanks.   Ugh!  

Even the counter-culture of the late 1960s and early 70s, in many instances, cleaned up and acted better than is common today fists and picket signs aloft, bell bottom jeans, and headbands notwithstanding.  My own parents had a foot in that world for a time, before moderating their approach somewhat and moving pretty seamlessly into white collar professional life as it was in the pre-cubicle and date entry era, so I can speak with some authority on this point. 

Returning to the 21st century, I simply don't know how one might go through life with eyes open and fail to recognize what I'm talking about when it comes to the broad populace in a reasonably affluent country.  What a freakin' mess.

Call me a silly, judgemental old woman.  Many will and have done so with equal parts relish and considerable righteous indignation.  However, maybe if we exercise greater self-awareness and self-control than we have become accustomed to, maybe if we sucked in our slack stomachs, and maybe if we pulled ourselves together a bit more when it comes to outward appearance and conduct, then maybe we might function a bit better, both at the individual and societal levels?  Maybe elevating ourselves a bit might be a good idea?  The suggestion bears consideration since the prevailing 'anything goes' attitude -- a way of thinking in which broad swaths of society wallow -- is at best not working.

Call it a hunch, but the broad social reform that so many clamor angrily for in 2019 might need to start somewhere else besides from the top down.  Maybe, just maybe that change needs to be more at the grassroots level, with individuals paying much more attention to how they present themselves to the world.  Our attire and personal habits are a huge part of this.  They speak volumes about us whether we care to admit it to ourselves, or not. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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