Weekend Assignment #239 – Sending a Message

This week, Mâvarin Karen is offering us the podium:

Weekend Assignment #239: Imagine that you have the world’s full attention (or your country’s full attention) for a maximum of two minutes. What do you tell everyone? Your message can be a single sentence if you like, or a bit longer.

It seems like everyone is trying to get a message out these days, including my husband. But for my money, it’s going to be tough to top this message, even if it does exceed the two-minute limit just a bit.

My message was actually inspired by the overly-casual dress I observed at a nice restaurant when we went out for my husband’s birthday dinner on Saturday night, and while my example may sound a little superficial, I think the idea behind it has some substance:

No one can place limits on your right to BE WHO YOU ARE. However, your right to EXPRESS that can indeed be limited – and when it starts to infringe on anyone else’s right to do the same, it SHOULD be limited. To put it another way, no one can tell you what to feel or how to think, but they certainly can you tell how to BEHAVE, since unless you spend your life as a hermit, your behavior will impact everyone you come across.

Treating others at least as well as you would want to be treated is a good place to start. They have the same right to be who they are, and to express that until it tramples on someone else’s, that you do. If you’re going to live and function within society – and most of us do, usually in multiple ways ranging from family units to workplaces to neighborhoods to cities to states to nations – mutual respect and consideration make that functioning at least a bit more pleasant.

So if you’re dining out in public at a good restaurant, please make the effort to wear something nicer than what you wear around the house, and take off your hat at the table. Good manners are just one way of expressing that consideration for other people, and when we “act as we would feel,” after awhile it’s not acting any more.

Here’s the thing: It’s really NOT your world, and you’re NOT just letting the rest of us live in it.

Extra Credit: Would you prefer your message to be broadcast on TV or radio, or published in multiple print media?

I am a lousy public speaker, so I would definitely prefer for this message to be published – online, in newspapers and magazines, and maybe even in greeting cards.

Do you have a message of your own that you’d like to broadcast? Write it on your blog, then link to it in the comments to this post at Outpost Mâvarin!

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  1. Hi Florinda,

    I totally agree! I was at a nice restaurant the other day and this woman at the next table had her shoes off and had her long-toenailed feet curled up under her, pointing straight at me! Agh! I mean, this is Hawaii, so things are a little more laid back, but come on!

    Also, I just visited your husband’s site, and tried to comment, but the word verification isn’t showing up, so I don’t know what to type! Could you pass the following comment on to him for me? Thank you!

    LOL! That is AWESOME!! I agree 100% with everything you said! I think the tolerance/responsible parenting rants are pretty common ones, but to date, I thought I was the only one bothered by all the teenage boys walking around looking like morons. I just want to de-pants all of them and then run. It’s not like they could catch me, even if my de-pantsing attempt was completely unsuccesful. You can read about my low-pants rant (and a bunch of other random thoughts) here http://subliminalintervention.blogspot.com/2008/08/some-final-thoughts-on-australia.html

  2. Dreamybee – The guy who inspired this post was wearing cargo shorts and a visor, which would be fine at plenty of places, but not a nice sit-down restaurant on Saturday night. Southern California is a pretty laid-back place too – and I’ve probably been overly influenced by my years in the Southeast, where you can still find some good old-fashioned decorum – but really, how hard is it to comb your hair and put on pants?

    I posted your comment on Tall Paul’s blog. It may have been a browser issue.

  3. I have a coworker who sits at her desk each morning and puts on her make-up, including drawing on her eyebrows and doing up her hair. I really wish she would use her own time to get ready for work, maybe wake up a little earlier–at the very least, shouldn’t she use the restroom?

  4. Hmm. I’ve got to think about that one. I don’t normally dress for dinner, but I don’t go around in shorts and hats, either. I probably wouldn’t wear a T-shirt at a nice place.

  5. Oh, man – another thought-provoking post, Florinda! If I weren’t so sleepy, I’d come up with something gripping to say… For now, I think my message would be something along the lines of, “BE NICE – ALL OF YOU!”

    :^) Anna

  6. Wendy (Literary Feline) – Back when I was in high school and girls would brush their hair at their desks, even that was frowned on. Now it seems like people don’t even realize anyone can see what they’re doing. If your coworker’s desk isn’t in an office with a door, then I agree that the restroom is a far more appropriate place for the morning grooming.

    KFB – My more general point was that I think we need to have more consideration for public standards, not so much to be nitpicky about what people wear to restaurants :-).

    Honestly, I’m not entirely pleased with how my response to this assignment turned out, but Tall Paul did his first and he took all the good stuff :-D!

    Anna L – I think that’s a pretty good message. It would go a LONG way to solve some problems :-).