Certainly a cheery title.
For those of you who don’t know, Miss Manners is the pen name of journalist, Judith Martin, an author and authority on etiquette.
She would have been astonished this morning in the check-out line at Morton Williams, my neighborhood supermarket.
We all know manners have gone south in our present day, but today took the cake, or bran muffin in this little lady’s case.
She was ahead of me in the process of paying for it. A chubby preteen, with a Prada wallet no less I hoped belonged to her mother. At her age, I had a Micky Mouse change purse with a polka dotted Minnie gracing the inside.
I say good morning to Stella, the cashier I see every day who looks agitated I guess because the kid is taking so long counting out her change.
She tries to help by counting it as it’s rolling off the counter, but the kid snaps, “I’ll do it,” clearly embarrassing Stella.
I say, “You okay there?” In case the reason for the snottiness is because she’s short, more than happy to chip in. However, if looks could kill, I’d be in frozen foods.
After she rudely throws a million coins like it’s Vegas, Pollyanna in residence says, “Stella, do you have a napkin for this young lady?”
Before she can even answer, the kid whirls around and says, “I don’t need a napkin. Shut-up and leave me alone.”
The entire store stops what it’s doing. The bread man making a delivery. The woman fixing herself tea. The fruit man stocking pears drops one that rolls in the aisle, I’m guessing in protest.
Even Pollyanna is too stunned to speak.
But then good old Susannah shows up.
“Hey, I’m your elder, so is Stella, and that’s not how you speak to us. Do you understand? We’re just trying to help you.”
“I’m telling my mother,” she said with a nasty sneer.
“Good, want me to call her? Because I’d love to tell her what a rude daughter she has.”
No, little Damea didn’t cry, but takes a bite out of her muffin leaving crumbs all over her fat, overfed face before schlumping out.
Stella shakes her head, I pay for my walnuts and beet salad, and commerce continues.
In 12 Step they remind you to mind your own business, but for me, that boundary breaks when it involves a kid or an animal.
All I know is, our youth, not to mention the world’s future, is it in mighty big trouble.