Whatever happened to manners and respect?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
My parents raised me to be respectful of others and to mind my manners. So pardon me if I get a little punchy with those who are pushy and insensitive.
Let me elaborate:
I have chronic acute lymphademia in my right arm and wear a custom fit compression sleeve. I was careful when being fitted to get a color that most matched my skin tone. Far too often I have strangers approach me with the belief that they have an inherent right to know why I wear the sleeve. That is not what is so bothersome, it is the manner in which they ask. "What did you do to your arm?" is what I hear most. What makes them think I "did" anything? Or, "Carpal Tunnel?" with a smirk.
I have tried several responses over the years including ignoring the question (that only leads to demands of an answer), asking them why they need to know (I was called rude),asking them if they would ask a person in a wheelchair what they did to their legs (not the same thing I'm told) or just smiling and walking away (again I am the rude one).
So what makes them think they can insert themselves uninvited into my personal life with abrupt questions? Hubby says I shouldn't get so twisted, that it is just human nature to be curious. I don't buy that. I am curious about the person in a wheelchair or wearing the eye patch, but that does not give me any right to invade their privacy just to satisfy my curiosity.
It is not the younger set, either. It is the older men and women alike, and they should know better. The younger set generally does not even acknowledge my swollen arm in the sleeve (or lack of breasts for that matter, but that's another topic).
Now, on occasion, I have had a more polite approach and I am usually happy to respond. One dear older lady once approached me in the grocery and said "Excuse me, but I see you are wearing a girdle on your arm. May I ask why?" I thanked the lady for her genteel approach and talked about my arm and the associated issues.
So I suppose it is just the approach that offends me. While I try to be tolerant of people's lack of manners I also request they respect my privacy if I do not feel like discussing my health with them.