My mother would say, “Entitled, Enshmitled.” Then she would do a face that I can’t explain because it would be somewhere between disgust and annoyance. Your mother probably used the same face when she lost patience with some of your behavior.
John Edwards felt entitled, Bill Clinton felt entitled, Tiger Woods felt entitled, and their kind of entitlement targeted women. It may be entitlement but it is also a serious lack of respect for women – and the role that women play in their lives seems a bit confused.
It is easy to write about male sexual misadventures because there are so many examples. But that’s only one type of entitlement that seriously ticks me off. In the genre of our “sit down and shut up” blob, this is my “What ever happened to ‘excuse me’?” You may not know what I mean so I’ll explain. When I am walking down the street, occasionally minding my own business, there are often people walking next to me or coming toward me. This is no surprise, since if you are walking on the sidewalk there are usually people. The surprise is that too often, those other people would just as soon knock you over as step a little to the side. In some instances they are young and not paying much attention. But lately, there are too many times when they think they are entitled to take up all the space they can, including yours. The same applies to staircases. They do not care if you are coming the other way –they simply will not move over. And when they knock you into the wall, or into the street, they will never say excuse me.
Allow me to give you just a few examples, starting this morning. The sun was shining when I walked out of the building. I tripped lightly down the front stairs and on to the sidewalk. There were a group of teenagers coming toward me so I stopped and moved to the side to let them pass. But they didn’t pass. I’m not a big girl but certainly I am big enough to be seen. It was as if I didn’t exist. They simply plowed right into me. They hit me so hard, they knocked me into the wall and never even acknowledged that they had done so. Nothing, nada, no apology or even a glance back.
A bit shaken but still in a good mood I proceeded down the street to my fitness club. As I walked up to the welcome area some guy, clearly in a hurry to get fit, pushed in front of me so he could give the greeters his pass card before I did. I mean, I was standing there and he stepped in front of me, like if he got there first he would get some kind of a prize. Never mind, I just waited there until he finished – and then the greeter caught my eye and we just shook our head and laughed. I hadn’t realized that he was entitled to be first.
After that less than friendly encounter I got into my work-out wear and went to find an elliptical cardio machine. There are about 10 TV’s you can watch and depending on which machine you choose, you can often pick your own station. Today, 4 TV’s in the same area were playing some ridiculous Mel Gibson movie. I asked the people immediately in front of the TV if, since 4 of them were playing the same program, I could change one. Apparently I couldn’t because they were all entitled to watch the same show on the TV they liked best. So I listened to a book on tape.
A bit discouraged about humankind, but still hopeful, I heated in the steam room, cooled off in a nice shower, wrapped myself in towels and walked back to my locker. There are 6 areas with lockers with one bench in each area. It is possible for three or four people to dress in one area, if they are a little respectful about how much space they use for personal belongings. In my cubby, one woman covered the one bench with her wet towel and gym bag. This left absolutely no room for anyone else. But she didn’t care, she was clearly entitled to take up all the space that existed for anyone who needed to use it.
My oh my, where did all the manners go? My hope is that all the people who are well described by “Sit down and shut up” or “excuse me”, will grow up, grow smart or just grow. We’re just sayin..Iris