Okay, so you are at the mall returning your Great Aunt Moyra's birthday gift. This is an annual tradition because every year your dear old Aunt Moyra gives you a bathrobe that you don't need or want. The question is why?
Now your family has told you that she does this because she is old. And she did turn 102 on her last birthday, but she still drives, lives independently and volunteers at the homeless shelter two times a week -- your Great Aunt Moyra is as sharp as a tack!
Finally, this year you just asked her the question, "Why do you always buy me a bathrobe?" And you know what she said? She said, "Honey" -- she calls everybody under 75 honey -- "Honey, the family has been telling me that I'm too old to worry about buying birthday gifts since I was in my 70s. I got tired of their whining so I just decided that every year, with a wink and a nod, I'd buy you a bathrobe knowing that you'd take it back and exchange it for something you really did need and want. It saves me a lot of shopping time and I always know that eventually, via the return process, you'll get the perfect gift from me. And as an added bonus I get the rest of the family off my back. It's a good system don't you think?"
You've got to give it to her, my Great Aunt Moyra has the entire family wrapped around her ancient, wrinkled finger.
Anyway, off you go to the mall, bathrobe in hand, and the place is packed! There are people everywhere milling about with seemingly no destination in mind. You've been shopping for 15 minutes or so and it's been a nightmare. You've been bumped, jostled, whacked and shoved many times. People are apparently so wrapped up in what they are doing that they don't even seem to realize that they are not the only ones there.
In due course you find yourself walking through a narrow aisle between clothing racks and suddenly you are attacked by what seems to be the Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. But when you recover and right yourself from your fall, you discover that they were just unruly children jumping off a tall display right into your path. Where are their parents anyway?!
You are feeling like this whole place is filled with nothing but inconsiderate miscreants but, maybe you are just hungry and grouchy and that's why everyone seems so rude today. Applying this theory, you decide that a nice snack is in order, and you head over to the food court and get in line for a slice of your favorite pizza to go.
However, once you get there you discover that you are surrounded by Gabby McGabby and her partner in crime Blabbermouth, namely the people in front and behind you. The gentleman, and you use that term loosely, at the head of the line is shouting into his cell phone at what appears to be his wife, about some very personal things you'd just as soon not be privy to. And, he only comes up for air long enough to snarl at the pizza counter worker about how long he's been waiting for his food. Then there's the lady behind you, she's shouting at someone on the other end of her cell phone about the intricacies and details of her seemingly endless number of daily gastrointestinal mishaps. Why isn't this woman in a hospital for God's sake?!
This is all wrong, wrong, wrong! You enter a seemingly benign public place and you are shoved, pushed around, attacked by small, leaping homo-sapiens with rude, thoughtless parents and you can't even get something to eat without being verbally assaulted.
Well that's it, you've had enough and you are out of here! A nice hot cocoa is in your future. So off you go to the bookstore, which has a lovely concession kiosk enshrined in its center: Slagathor's Coffee and More.
Here's another line to wade through, but still, at the end of your wait is a large chocolaty drink (you always ask for two extra pumps of cocoa) and maybe one of those lovely chocolate chip cookies they have.
Suddenly, however, your mental peace and revelry are shattered by two ardent, self-absorbed texters who collide with such force that they knock each other over. And while they are on their way down they smack into a lady who subsequently dumps her double iced cappuccino all over you and the bag containing Great Aunt Moyra's not-yet-returned bathrobe.
And then, to add insult to injury, everyone involved rounds on you, calling you names and blaming you for the whole incident. You are now thoroughly wet, dazed and confused. What, you are wondering, is going on, has the whole world gone mad? Where is the "Manners Fairy" when you need her?!
Manners are important, as they are an organized or codified way, if you will, of expressing compassion. Kindness, consideration and respect are at the heart of expressing "agape," or the love of, and appreciation for, all beings.
Rudeness is a nasty business, and we are all hurt by it, so what can we do? Here are a few pointers:
1. Remember that you're not the only person on the planet!
2. We don't want to hear you shouting your personal business into a cell phone.
3. When you are with your friends and family turn off your electronic devices. Unless you are a health care professional on call or the President of the United States you don't need to be electronically "connected" every second.
4. Take time to pay attention to yourself, your feelings and your life. It is through this process that you will discover that you have the emotional bandwidth to do the same for everyone else.
Join Dr. Cochran on Nov. 5, 2011 in Burbank, CA from 9:30-3:30pm 818-848-3213 for A JOURNEY THOUGH ROMANTIC LOVE: What it is, What it isn't, How to get it and How to keep it! During this workshop Dr. Cochran will teach techniques for how to manage, and what to expect from one of the most challenging developmental tasks of adulthood: the many faces of romantic love. Married, single, gay or straight, Dr. Cochran will help you find your perfect partner and/or assist you in increasing the intimacy level in your current relationship, through great insights and understanding.
The "Manners Fairy" thanks you!