Stuff You Just Know If You Were Raised Right

Quote of the Day:     “Everyone should just be quiet and uncomfortable. Avoid eye contact. Look pensive. Don’t trap me in your stupid convo where you say “I’m in the elevator so I might lose you.””     –Aubrey Leigh Goodwin, explaining in the funniest line of the week how offensive it is for someone to use a cell phone in a shared elevator

As fate would have it, TB was on the road today driving back and forth through the Mississippi Delta for work in Greenville. I love driving in the Delta. It’s a great place to think. Somewhere near Onward I got to cogitating on the subject of etiquette. Particularly road etiquette at first, but then my mind naturally turned to other instances where if people would just act right, life would be so much more enjoyable. My mind moved on(ward?) to other subjects, but somewhere in the back, it kept the issue of folks actin right working in the realm of subconsciousness. Then I walk in the house, fire up the laptop and see Aubrey Leigh’s poetic rant staring back at me from her Facebook page. It seemed like a sign. I should publish an essay of etiquettalia you ought to know if you were raised right. And so I shall, but don’t be offended if you don’t know all of these. So long as you long ago figured out the majority for yourself, you can feel safe your folks performed the task of raising you well.

Cell phone etiquette is a perfect example of something your parents could not have taught you, unless you are really obnoxiously young. But if you were raised up right, you know not to talk in the elevator. And Aubrey Leigh’s description of appropriate elevator behavior is so perfect I cannot hope to improve upon it. But it’s not the only place you must put your phone away. One of the worst places to talk is on an airplane before it takes off. A quick buzz that the doors are closing and your arrival will be on time is acceptable, but only if you speak in a muffled murmur and  make it snappy. I can tell you from experience there is nothing so boorish as to wait until you board a plane to pull out your new flip phone, turn your head toward the center aisle and begin to loudly boast to your phone of the deals you closed today, all the while running your fingers through your overly moussed hair, winking at the flight attendant as you ask for a double Jack Daniels and ostentatiously kicking off your Bruno Maglis. Do not be this dude. And for pete’s sake, and mine, don’t talk on your cell phone in a restaurant with metal or better cutlery. As a matter of fact, silence the damned thing in all these places.

Speaking of airplanes. If someone is reading next to you, do not speak to them except to excuse yourself from the row or to alert them the wing is ablaze. Do not rearrange the overhead baggage without asking those around you if they mind. So long as you ask, they don’t. Don’t recline your seat in coach for a one hour or less flight, and don’t ever recline it if its not absolutely necessary. I swear some people lean back just because they want to push the button. It really adds nothing to your comfort level. But it sure as hell makes it worse for the poor guy behind you. If you are on a three seat row, the middle guy gets two armrests. When its time to deplane, wait until everyone ahead of you has gone, but let no one pass whose seat was behind you unless you want to start a riot. And when you get to the terminal, keep moving. Do not stop to make that call you somehow managed to hold off on in the plane about all the deals you closed in the middle of the walkway. Finally, those moving walkways? The airport ain’t Disneyland and those things ain’t rides. They make you walk faster, which is how you walk in airports. Fast.

What started this train of thought was a vignette I participated in while leaving Greenville today, the reason for my later cogitating near Onward. I happened to be astern of an old pickup coming out of Hardee’s where I’d been on the phone with a client. There was a lot of traffic and no light and the old codger ahead of me seemed content to just wait until the traffic passed for good–probably around midnight tonight by my estimation. But some kindly soul held up traffic for just long enough for the pickup and TB to pull out. The old man was busy listening to his AM/FM radio though and didn’t see the gesture. So I gave him the lightest tap of the TB horn to get his attention and take advantage of the opening. Ok, stop. That’s a double lesson–first, the person who let us out was obviously a scholar and a gentleman,  to say nothing of being well bred. And TB’s light horn tap is an example of the second move in the well mannered waiting driver’s arsenal. The first is to pull up a few feet in hopes the movement shows in the front vehicle’s mirror and gets him rolling. Had he ignored the light tap, I’d have had no choice but to lay on the horn louder and longer, but thankfully, it seldom comes to that. Anyhoo, lest you think the old man was raised by wolves, he appropriately gave the sheepish wave in the rearview mirror to me and the two finger “thank you” point to the man who let us out. As did I. All of this happened over the course of about 5 seconds, but the fact that all involved showed such grace gave TB a warm feeling for my fellow man in the soul. If only it were always so.

It’s late, so I guess covering only these few areas will do some good. God knows if a higher rate of folks would show some better cell phone and airplane, and driving manners we’d reduce anti-depressant usage in this country by at least half and probably do serious damage to Al Queda’s terrorist recruiting efforts. But before I sign off, I’m wondering….how many of you caught it? To borrow a phrase, there was a slight breach of etiquette in my driving incident of good feeling. You see, the original kind driver who set all this into motion (ain’t life strange?) bent the rules when he held up traffic to let not one, but two cars out in front of him. The rule is to let out one car. Someone behind you is responsible for the rest of those folks. But being that it was in TB’s favor, I appreciated the intent, and to save the scholar from getting a light horn tap from the guy behind him I sped into the opening with alacrity, something you must always remember if faced with a similar situation. At least if you were raised right.

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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68 Responses to Stuff You Just Know If You Were Raised Right

  1. Jessie Lou says:

    To continue on with cell phone etiquette…..when you invite someone to do something, be it lunch or anything, you should not spend the majority of that time of the phone. I absolutely hate that. Also no texting in church – how hard is that to understand?

  2. sweet says:

    addendum: don’t use words like alacrity to show off your commodious lexicon as you compile collocational morphemes

  3. workinbaen says:

    TB is well aware of his desperate need of an editor, but I would prefer it not be a philistine.

  4. workinbaen says:

    JLM, good call on the texting. That’s a timely subject. And every time I go to church it takes all of my willpower to leave the iphone in the car instead of surfing the net during the sermon. But my Moma would be highly displeased if I ever pulled such a stunt, so the phone stays in the car during church.

  5. Zeek says:

    I would like to add teaching your kids to say “sir” and “ma’am”. Far too many kids from teens down to toddlers do not even understand the concept. It makes my skin crawl when I hear a kid say to an adult-“huh?” or “what?” These kids will no doubt grow up to respect absolutely nothing considering their parents did not make sure they respected them.

  6. sweet says:

    That is why I have to consult Mr Roget (also a wine maker in the Bordeaux region of France) and Mr Webster

  7. Jessie Lou says:

    I’m with you Zeek – that drives me crazy. And how about just plain ‘thank you’ after you have spent hours and dollars – especially on nephews, which is where I am at in this point in life. WB – kudos to you for restraint, especially in the throes of possible withdrawal for the hour. My comment was mainly targeted at teenagers.

  8. OB says:

    Try honking your horn here in Houston and you’ll get shot! These are things you should know if you werwe raised right.

    A couple of things that really get under my skin are being late for church, talking while someone is giving a speech or during the National Anthem, and parents who don’t discipline their children.

    It seems that the same people are always late for everything, no offense Booger, and it especially bothers me at church. I try and sit in the same place each week and I’m forced to moved over, standup and let someone by or listen to the constant footsteps while the Bishop is trying to speak to the congregation.

    This always seems to piss me off and it happened last Saturday. I, as well as 900 other bike riders, were preparing for our weekly MS150 training ride. It was cool and windy, and a guy was trying to speak to everyone over a bull horn. The guy was trying to tell everyone the rules of the road, the stages at which the different paced groups would be allowed to leave, and other do’s and don’ts of the road. Well, it seems that all the people throughout the pack that were doing all the talking seriously affected everyone behind them. Those people did not stay to the right of the road, announce “On your left” when passing, announce turning “Right” or “Left” or “Slowing’ and a there could’ve been some serious accidents with other riders or vehicles. Why can’t everyone just quiet their talking for one minute and listen to directions and it would be a much better world?

    It never really bothered me until I had children, but when my kids treat other children wrongly or do not use their manners when they should I, as a parent, feel it is my obligation to let them know it. I find myself constantly watching my kids on the playground or in dance class and get rather irritated when my children are being bullied. I notice my kids pouting and usually have a little one-to-one talk with them later. I don’t understand why other parents, who are obviously watching, don’t correct their kids when they are doing something wrong. I would love to tell the other parents a thing or two, but usually try and bite my frustrations and tell my kids that’s just how some people are.

  9. Jessie Lou says:

    There are a ton of kids that run around War Memorial Stadium these days during football games and their parents do not stop them. They are back and forth and it really drives my parents crazy, and thus drives me crazy because I have to deal with both. They never say “excuse me” or anything.

    I was brought up to admit you are wrong and hopefully get to do it before someone else does. People respect you more when you admit it and take the blame and move on.

    Being late to anything is just plain rude. That tells the other person that your agenda is much more important than what you were late for in the first place.

  10. face says:

    TB, I know you can come up with more than a couple of paragraphs on airport/airplane etiquette, but you hit my biggest pet peeve, slow walkers.

    Speaking of airports, I saw Coach Croom in Atlanta yesterday.

  11. But what if you’re texting God? Maybe my church is just progressive.

    Your comment about airplane etiquette is dead on and reminds me of my ode to an a-hole on a flight I recently was on. The post is here:

    Also, today I encountered a vehicle etiquette situation myself. As you say, everyone knows the allow-only-one-car-at-a-time-in rule. Another rule that everyone should know is that if the car you’re attempting to let in doesn’t take advantage of your kindness within about 2.3 seconds, you move on and let traffic flow.

    This afternoon, I was behind a man who was approximately 114 years old. He was driving the obligatory old person car — Buick LaSabre (as if I had to name it for people to know). He decided to wave in another driver who also appeared to have been born during Queen Victoria’s reign.

    The next thing I know they have both their arthritic hands gesturing to the other to go. “No, you go.” “No, you go.”

    I was going to blow my horn, but I knew that would induce at least one heart attack and further delay my progress. Instead, I calmed down knowing that one of them would soon tire from all that hand-waving and drive on.

  12. quail09 says:

    I’m sorry….my biggest ettiquete pet peave involves people who just cannot bring themselves to travel by car in any other lane than the left lane…..most of these people reside in louisiana in my experience

  13. SC, I’m cracking up. Too true. And I had it at 2.25 seconds for waiting, but then, I’m impatient.

    Quail, you’re on to something about the cajun driver. I think it has something to do with all those years they went without federal highway funds in the interest of letting 18 year old Goula boys prop up their economy. The LA driver never even looks at other cars. It’s as if we are not there. That is both good and bad though since by giving up the friendly hello or thank you you also don’t have to worry about a road rage incident with them. Its like they are all late. For a very important date.

  14. Jessie Lou says:

    Cajuns are about the food and transportation by boat, forget anything with wheels.

    Whenever I am behind or held up by an old person I try to remember that I may end up driving like that one day too. I bet they didn’t drive like that when they were younger. Just last week there was an article in the paper for a Senior Citizen’s Driving Course – no joke. But it was a great story BH – enjoyed it!

  15. Madd Dawg says:

    Face–was Croom on his way to St. Louis where he is taking over as the Rams RB coach? Coaching Steven Jackson is not be a bad gig.

    I have two other points to add:
    1. This one which you and I have discussed before—-I hate people who, while waiting to enter an elevator, stand right in front of the doors and then try to get on before the people exiting are allowed sufficient time to depart.
    The Rule is that you stand in a semi-circle about 5 feet from the doorway leaving a clear path for use by the exiters to depart, then you enter the elevator in the order in which you arrived.

    2. I hate people who, when approaching a two-way stop and their lane does not have to stop, stop anyway and then motion for me to go when I am faced with a stop sign. I always suspect that they will wait for me to pull out into the intersection, ram me and claim that the incident was my fault because I ran the stopsign. I carry a metal bat in my car just for such people.

  16. OB says:

    Speaking of elevators. When you hit that button to call the elevator and the light comes on to show it’s been pushed somebody always walk into the corridor and hits the button one, two, three or more times like it will get there any faster. They hit it like it hadn’t been pushed and you’re just standing there for your health.

  17. Well done MD/OB. Very true.

    Another driving rule that occurs to me is to take note of times, and we have all been guilty once or twice, when you are not on the cruise control but someone else is. If you begin to pass and get re-passed by the same car on the interstate more than twice, somebody is driving like a jackass. And it ain’t me. (other than maybe once or twice)

  18. Madd Dawg says:

    What is the rule when there is one cash register open with a line of say 8 people, and then another register opens. Is it a free-for-all to see who can get the newly-opened register first, or does the order in which people are standing in the first line have relevance in determining who has dibs in line #2?

  19. face says:

    MD, I assumed he was on his way to Tampa to interview or beg for an NFL job. I guess he was successful.

  20. MD, you bring a good question. I need to collect my thoughts before I describe my approach to this deceptively complex scenario.

  21. BR says:

    MD depends on how many items are in your buggy, if all you have is a 12 pack and the
    old lady/man has there’s running over i say

  22. Jessie Lou says:

    IF the old people don’t have much I’ll let them go ahead but I say whoever gets there first. My generosity would depend on where I was headed after the store and how much time I had to waste. Lots of variables, it is indeed a complex question of etiquette.

  23. Madd Dawg says:

    indeed, which is why I felt it necessary to bring it before this fine group of fair-minded and polite individuals as i seem to be faced with this difficult issue about once a week when i am standing in line with my case of beer.

  24. sweet says:

    FYI – the 10 down clue in my morning crossword puzzle was alacrity…..I got it

  25. Zeek says:

    You dudes are gay.

  26. JessieLou says:

    And have too much time on their hands…..

  27. Ok, first, Sweet, you’re welcome and thanks for the acknowledgement.

    MD, your question has many answers, depending upon the specifics of the situation. You will be required to analyze all of the angles in a heartbeat, so it is good to prepare yourself by thinking through all the possible scenarios.

    First, if there are 8 people in line and you are 6 or below, the question is moot. Leave the store immediately.

    If you are 3-5 and you see the new cashier coming, you can always slip out of line and join the new line before it officially opens. This can be risky as many cashiers are hip to the watchful customer and will feint toward the cashier, then head for some other critical task like gossiping with the bag boy. You must be able to assess the new cashiers character at a glance, and this can be difficult. Personally, it is a weak area in my game.

    If the new line opens and all notice it simultaneously, the well bred patron will quickly take note of the amount of goods to be checked out by customers 3-5. If someone has one to three items, you head off controversy by saying “you go ahead, it won’t take you as long.” Then you stay with the momentum and follow them into the new line. If you are the person with a small load, you look suspiciously into the other person’s cart. This will either force them to give you the go-ahead or you can sprint in front of them while maintaining the moral high ground.

    This is not an all inclusive response, but it should provide a starting framework for dealing with the situation.

    Next item up for discussion, how to handle the road condition of one lane closures.

  28. I forgot one other common scenario, but it only applies to MD. If you are 2d in line or further back and you are buying a case of beer or if midnight looms and you are buying a case of beer, you can throw a twenty in the general direction of the cashier and say “I’m takin it” while looking briefly at the onlookers with crazy eyes.

  29. sweet says:

    That was me, MD was behind the wheel of the getaway car. A number of hours later, I awoke to Linda driving us home in the Zephyr

  30. Madd Dawg says:

    yea, that was sweet at the Magic Mart on Market Street sometime in late high school I think (it is all a blur).

    After a long night of hard beer drinking, we inexplicably ran out of boos, and it was well past midnight, so we were in trouble. Pretending to be unaware of the well-known “no beer sales after midnight” rule enforced by all stores at the time, we stopped off for a 12 pack. Sweet was at the counter with our fresh supply of life-blood, and I was still admiring the beer in the cooler across the store. After the clerk politely advised sweet of the no-beer rule, Brad turned to me and a devious grin came across his face. He then turned back to the clerk and loudly proclaimed “Well, we’re taking it”, tossed a $10 bill in the general direction of the counter and walked out. The clerk and I gave one another a quick blank stare, and he then reached for the phone presumably to call the cops. I ran out the door, cranked the car and hauled a&$.

    For some reason, we thought it would be a good idea to park in front of Rosie’s house, leave the car on so we could listen to tunes and finish our brews…and that is exactly how my mom found us passed out the next morning.

  31. sweet says:

    a very awkward few minutes, to say the least. I did thank her for the ride home, though

  32. Madd Dawg says:

    you were always the polite one in the group BC.

  33. OB says:

    I’m just curious. If I remember correctly I think Thunders sells beer after midnight in the drive thru. If so, why are they allowed to sell after midnight and no one else can?

  34. Zeek says:

    He was the polite one in that Eddie Haskell kind of way. They all thought he was so innocent. Atleast there was a slightly better outcome on that one than the Bacardi night when MD felt me up, kissed Sweet,yakked all in the backseat of the Zephyr, passed out and left Sweet to his own vices(scary thought,huh?). Sweet,with the POWER pumping through his veins(along with the Bacardi) like the Mighty Mississippi River, runs the car out of gas and tries to push it halfway down Martin St. But alas, as he was running out of steam a cop pulls up and blue lights ensue. Where exactly were they you ask? Right in front of my house!!! With Mary B. looking out the kitchen window!!! Thanks dudes!!

  35. Jessie Lou says:

    Priceless story Zeek – I think I remember you telling me this before. I was never able to purchase beer at that Majik Market although I did try once in 10th grade. I was the youngest one in the car so I guess the rest were wimps; not to mention I likely looked about 12 and I maybe weighed all of 75 pounds at the time. The clerk told me to march myself back to the case and put it right back all while laughing. I knew it would likely turnout that way but at least I gave it a try. Compared to the crew of 1988 I was a good two shoes but I’ll have my brain cells a little longer hopefully. My first drunken experience only took about 1/2 a Busch beer that same year and a two day recovery period.

  36. Madd Dawg says:

    That was the same experience as TB in 12th grade, except it was a glass of mixed vodka and _____ (sprite?).

    I can neither confirm nor deny that story.

  37. Well, the two day recovery isn’t quite right. The day after you pushed that demon juice on me I went 3-4 with a homer, about 8 RBI’s and I came in to pitch when we were down 5-0 and won the game 12-5. It was clear to me then that alcohol consumption and sports performance were unrelated.

  38. Jessie Lou says:

    I seem to remember a horrible hangover for TB after a Colingo wedding…..that couldn’t have only lasted one day. I think someone survived that after reception bar hopping escapade by being propped up on the juke box somewhere. Not sure if that was you or Sweet – you both had it pretty bad. I thought it was funny but ya’ll were in hell. Of course, there are other instances in my own history book that you could tell that are equally nasty. Not many but a few.

    How you pitched I’ll never know. I wouldn’t be aable to function.

  39. Madd Dawg says:

    “after you pushed that demon juice on me” ???


    I still remember our exact conversation as we pulled up to Scoop’s house:

    TB: Hey man, give me a sip of that.

    MD: (not wanting to bring TB to the dark side—mainly because he was always the designated driver, and I did not want to lose that) But it’s got vodka in it.

    TB: I don’t care. I’m thirsty.

    MD: Um, ok.

    TB: (takes a swig) Hey man, that’s pretty good.

    MD: Yep.

    The rest is history…..

  40. Zeek says:

    MD, I have many more where that one came from,as I’m sure you, well, you probably don’t recall. But there are plenty. Your denial is plausible at best.

  41. coachteajay says:

    Yes Thunders sales beer after 12 because they whats called a “resort License” and God Bless them

  42. Smilyj17 says:

    Somehow, I managed to grow up and have fun without the help of beer or liquor. I never understood the act of drinking. Didn’t need it to have fun as some did. MD’s massive consumption probably has contributed to his male inadequacy problems he still suffers from to this day.

  43. Zeek says:

    More like his massive consumption contributed to a lifelong attempt at masking inadequacy problems. Sorry MD, but I know you just said “HA!” and pointed your finger at the screen.

  44. Zeek says:

    Smily, I do vividly remember you being the stalwart of sobriety at a certain Crue concert in Biloxi @1990. I remember being so impressed with your ability to just say no in such an atmosphere.

    • Dasiy says:

      Thank you for these great questions for hepling me better plan my social media strategy. My online experiences website, blog and eventually teaching online began before most social media was created. Like many from BSM (before social media) I had to first decide if social media was even a train I needed to board. After realizing that I HAD to be on board, next I had to discover how to get on board and participate in a meaningful way. My strategy is still evolving, but I’ve learned a few things that work for me. 1. My primary role on social media is as an entrepreneur who coaches aspiring authors so most of my posts are directed at heart-based coaches, speakers, bloggers and entrepreneurs. But I’m also an author sharing from my creating happiness, success and abundance niche. Since I’m also a mom and teacher, those roles often cause me to share tips, ideas and sources from those persepectives too. 2. My insatiable curiosity, love of researching and need to share what I learn with others makes my tweets and postings usually outward-directed rather than self-serving. I love sharing what coaches, entrepreneurs and others are writing, doing and creating online.3. Because I’m juggling many projects, I must have a way to share that’s efficient. My favorite site is because it allows me to not only schedule a number of posts, but also have them appear on FB, Tw, and LinkedIn all at once.There are some who believe that it’s better in some instances to post to these separately (and there are some benefits to that,) I mostly posts messages that can go to all three at once. I also love it when bloggers and others make it easy for me to tweet from within their articles and sites. 4. My primary use of social media is building relationships. It’s not a get-rich-quick approach to fame and fortune, but it is an enriching approach that is far deeper and more meaningful. The fun and challenge of social media is keeping up need an invite to Pinterest anyone?

  45. Greeg says:

    That’s because Smi-Ly is gay.

  46. Greeg says:

    Yes, God Bless Thunders. He has been real good to me and Rogue.

  47. jmac says:

    FYI All stores in Jackson County selll all night know think wal mart pulled that off. I didnt have Quite enough time to read the rediclous driving but if this is not one of them it is now. in America unless your drunk you should drive on the right hand side of the road so why do our fabulous police officers not write tickets when drivers move to the left lane when turning across highways or making u turns kinda hard to see oncoming traffic behind a car who cant see because he forced u to the wrong lane to turn

  48. Madd Dawg says:

    You also managed to grow up without friends and without having relations with females.

    So you’ve got that going for you……which is nice, I guess for you anyway.

  49. Susan Greenough says:

    Ben-A friend of mine(from Madison) showed me this and after reading and looking around your site I realized it was “Ben White from Pascagoula!” I loved the site it cracked me up! My friend was stunned-she thinks all roads must ascend from Pascagoula because I seem to know someone or their family quite a bit-but I guess that’s what makes being from Mississippi great! Glad to see you are doing well! Susan Lang Greenough

  50. Thanks for the kind words Susan. Don’t be a stranger. And be sure to make fun of Smily.

  51. Jessie Lou says:

    A good sober man is hard to find in this group.

  52. Madd Dawg says:

    sEan has a semi this afternoon.

    Zeek, I missed your jab when I read this thread earlier. I didn’t even know they offered psychotherapy classes at Greene County!!

  53. Zeek says:

    Touche’ MD. I get my edumacation(that is not a typo) where I can.

  54. Madd Dawg says:

    I knew that you would appreciate that comment based upon our conversation from last week.

  55. Madd Dawg says:

    Oh, and sEan still has wood this afternoon based upon yesterday’s post.

    Where you at smilEy j?

  56. Jessie Lou says:

    Probably dying of embarrassment somewhere…..

  57. Zeek says:

    Hey! Leave my little Smiley alone!!

  58. Madd Dawg says:

    It that what you call it now Zeek? that’s cute

  59. Smily says:

    Im gonna have to kick MD’s arse.

  60. Jessie Lou says:

    I could sell tickets to that!

  61. Zeek says:

    Sell tickets to a scratch and claw contest between MD and Smiley? Good Luck. If you pull that one off, you should go to work for Don King.

  62. Madd Dawg says:

    sorry Zeek, no shanks allowed bro.

  63. Zeek says:

    I represent that remark MD,and trust me I don’t need one at a catfight btween you and SJ, I will bring you a boa and a tiara though. Smiley can bring his own attire.

  64. Jessie Lou says:

    Unfortunately, Don King and I could have the same hairdo. That partnership might could work.

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