Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Archive 2001
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A few months ago I had to undergo minor surgery because I couldn’t breathe properly through my nose. I woke up from the general anesthesia with a painfully throbbing nose twice its normal size and filled with about two pounds of cotton wool. I must have looked horrible and felt not very well either.

The bed next to me was occupied by a teenage girl who had had her tonsils out. And of course, her friends and classmates came to visit her. About twenty-five of them. Some stayed from 9 am to 9 pm, others a few hours only. No one seemed to care about visiting hours or the fact that constant LOUD chatting might disturb other patients. Me, to be precise. I couldn’t even pity myself in peace.

But what annoyed me most was that these young people seemed to never have learned that it is rude to stare at others. Every time one of them entered the room, they goggled at me for a good few moments, taking in every tiny detail from my puffy watering eyes to the bloody bandage under my nose – WITHOUT even saying “Hi!” or “How are you?” I gave them the most unfriendly, though very watery and slightly unfocused stare I could manage.... And whenever I moved in my bed to sip some water through a straw or to change said bloody bandage the room fell completely silent and everyone turned round to watch me with great interest until I was done. And when I dragged myself to the bathroom I felt their eyes against my back and almost expected them to follow me to see what I was doing there.

I ended up pretending to be asleep and cursing these peoples’ parents for not teaching them ANYTHING about good behavior or thoughtfulness for others AT ALL!



I attended a showing of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" at a local movie theatre, and there was a couple who did not stop talking the entire time.  As we were leaving, I asked them why, if they were going to talk the entire time, they had paid ten dollars to see a movie.  Several other patrons jumped in to voice their anger as well.  The couple promptly verbally abused me all the way out of the theatre, calling me a "stupid b#tch," "fucking c#nt," and various other names.



I called my "best friend" and left her a voice mail to tell her my dad was in the hospital.  Needless to say, I was crying and very upset.  Keep in mind we are both professional women in our mid-20s.  Or at least I am.

She called me back hours later and we got disconnected as I was crying to her.  I called her right back and her cell went to voicemail.  When she called me back, she said, "Sorry, I was hitting the bong and couldn't get to my phone in time."  When I asked if I could come over to talk, she said, "You know, I'm pretty high and going to sleep soon." 

Needless to say, we no longer speak.



I had a lovely Bat Mitzvah.  I had a beautiful ceremony, lots of family and friends, and a grand old time.  My mother was an acquaintance of the glass artist of a respectable Judaic fused-metal and glass artist, and was able to get a ceremony set that ended up being one of few in existence (the artist decided that the particular pattern was too time consuming).

After my Bat Mitzvah, I did what my mother had taught me, and opened cards first, to get the name of who gave me the gift, then the gift, and my mother wrote these all down.  In total, I would guess that I had about 200 thank-you cards to write (I’m not sure, I was 12 years old, and thought “This is a LOT!”)

Being that my Bat Mitzvah was in the spring, I had tests to study for, and homework to do, and writing all of the thank you cards were done in my free time.  Keep in mind, I wrote all of my thank-you cards on my own, by hand, with the only assistance being the addresses to send the cards.  I didn’t finish all of my thank-you cards by the time I went to camp, so my mother explained to anyone that asked that I was at camp, and was still working on thank-you notes.  When I got back from camp, I finished the last dozen or so.  One of the last dozen people called my mom and said “I finally got the note.  It was so nice of you.  But did you write the one to [mutual friend] and she write the one to me?  The note I got has far worse handwriting.”

My mom politely responded “She was at camp, so she wasn’t able to send thank you notes.  However, I assure you, she wrote both thank-you notes.  The exception is that with yours, she had a splinted finger, because she broke her finger while at camp.  And she still insisted on writing the last notes herself.”

That woman has never had a particularly good sense of tact when it comes to health.  To give another example of her lack of tact, she bothered to ask my mother “Why is she limping?” when it said in that week’s services flyer that wishes for health go out to me, because I was recovering from knee surgery.  She then further probed “Why isn’t she on crutches?” and I explained to her reason myself.  I’ve heard that her lack of tact extends further than my family, and frankly, I’m not surprised.  And I’m sure, everyone knows someone in their religious congregation that is just like this woman.



A few years back, my beloved grandmother had a heart attack and required quadruple bypass surgery. This was quite a shock, and I was very scared.  My grandmother is a very well-liked and respected person, and my family was all devastated.  My mother and I immediately came to the hospital to await news of her surgery, and were greeted in the waiting room by no fewer than ten of her friends.  Now, some of these people were close family friends, but some of them were simply minor acquaintances.   I was immediately uncomfortable by their presence, but said nothing because I figured they were just being supportive.  Most of them greeted my mother and I, but one woman just sat there, knitting, (she actually brought her KNITTING with her to the hospital!) and didn't even look at us or say a word!

When the surgery was finally over and my grandmother was in ICU, the doctor came back to tell us that it would be okay if we went in to see her.  My mother and I stood up to go, and to my horror, so did ALL of her friends, even the ones who were not very close to her!  They followed us to her room, and proceeded to crowd around the hospital bed.  I was very upset, because my grandmother did not look well, and I was crying.  She was unconscious, by the way.  Imagine my shock when one of them, who was one of the minor acquaintances, said, "Well, this is the only time you can actually get her to shut up!"  Not only was this inappropriate, it was UNTRUE!  My grandmother never just runs her mouth incessantly!  My grandmother's mouth was slightly open to allow tubes to go down her throat, and another one said, repeatedly, in Joey from Friends fashion, "How YOU doin'?"  As if my grandmother would ever say that! 

Needless to say, I was thrilled when the morons finally left and it was just family and a couple of close family friends. To this day, when I see the people who did this, my blood heats up and I get mad all over again.  I have never heard of such blatant disregard for a family's right to see their loved one BEFORE the charade brigade halls cookies to their room and makes rude, untrue comments!  Repeat after me, people:  BOUNDARIES!



'Julie', 'Danielle' and I have been friends for close to 9 years now, and even though we have all gone our separate ways (to University and such) we have still considered each other 'best friends' - until now.

Last year when my birthday rolled around, I made plans to go out with Julie and Danielle to a popular bar near our hometown, as I would be driving 2 hours home for a visit and to celebrate. The night of my birthday, when we tried to get together to go to the bar, I called around to confirm again with everyone, and got a response that Danielle was very tired, and to contact her when we were ready to go. I called her many, many times and left many messages, and didn't hear from her all night. So I got together at Julie's house with my boyfriend, my sister, and Julie herself, and we all went out without Danielle.

This wouldn't have been so bad except that I didn't hear from her for 3 months after, she has never apologized or given me reasons for not coming out on the rare occasion that I was home, nor did she wish me a Happy Birthday (let alone get me a gift). But it gets better...

I forgave Danielle for this indiscretion and we went out and hung out together - things were hunky dory. We got in a small fight at the end of the summer regarding our views of our relationships, but when by birthday rolled around again, I was sure to go out of my way to contact her beforehand and ensure that she could come out. What she told me was 'I might have other plans' - my birthday comes on the same day every year - wouldn't you set aside time for your best friend's birthday? I was so peeved at this excuse that I didn't contact her that weekend, and she also refused to contact me, so another birthday was spent with Julie, with no 'Happy Birthday' from Danielle.

3 months later I haven't heard from her, until Julie's birthday rolls around. After many of Julie's friends expressed that they were unable to attend because of work obligations, Julies personal choice limited her guests to myself and Danielle. The day before the celebrations, Danielle cancelled on Julie - we decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and consider that she might actually be house-sitting, as she had stated, and obligated to stay there. So Julie and I went out for martinis at a popular martini bar, and were having a wonderful time, when who should we encounter, but DANIELLE? She was there on a date and since I happened to know her date, I called him over to chat, and we proceeded to grill Danielle about her house sitting duties. We found out from our waitress that Danielle and her date had been there for over 2 hours, sipping drinks.

Needless to say the relationship is *minorly* strained between myself and Julie, and Danielle - three strikes, you're out.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007