Look, we’ve all been that guy. It’s a moment of thoughtlessness, or a habit of just not giving a whit about others, or a moment of oops. It happens to all of us.
But still …
We’re sitting in church on a lovely Kansas City spring day. It’s too warm for the furnace and too cool for the A/C, and it’s a little stuffy in the sanctuary, so the ushers discreetly open a few windows – thankfully it’s an old building with actual windows – and soon enough a lovely breeze runs across the room.
The pastor is giving a particularly good sermon, even drawing a few laughs. We all need that more than we think we do. It’s a good moment.
Then the chainsaw starts up, across the street.
Cities are full of noises, and any halfway busy street has its share of ambulances blare past, even on Sunday mornings. Pause a couple seconds, and let the choir proceed. It’s life. No worries.
A chainsaw is another matter. I mean, who does that? This goes on for 10 minutes, and then peace and quiet return.
It’s all good until the jack-hammer starts. Ten minutes of that, too.
By the time church gets out and a couple of us wander to the front door to glare at the offenders, they’re done. We see a couple of suspects but not enough evidence for a grand jury, so, sheesh, just let it go.
But still, who does that? I know there’s always more to the story, and maybe the offenders were as upset at having to work on a Sunday morning as the churchgoers were at having to hear it. And the same 20 minutes of noise would likely have been just as annoying to someone else at noon on Tuesday.
But seriously, who doesn’t get the idea that excessive noise at 11 a.m. on a Sunday – across the street from one church and not far from a couple others – is plainly rude? This can’t wait an hour or two?
Then again, who tosses lit cigarettes on the street or highway, creating danger and in effect extending a large middle finger to the world? You see it all the time. Who blasts their lawn clippings into the street? And let’s not even get into tailgating, lane-swerving drivers.
Or the casual profanity – and I mean the real stuff – that people drop a few decibels too high at every restaurant, theater and ballgame, when any fool could surmise that a 5-year-old or a grandma are likely within earshot. Not to mention the rest of us.
Little things, perhaps. But you can’t tell me we haven’t let thing some things slip, haven’t neglected to teach some people common courtesy and common sense. It’s cruder and ruder out there. And the kids are taking all this in.
Follow Jeff Fox on Twitter: @Jeff_Fox