What’s on the iPod: The Loneliness and the Scream by Frightened Rabbit
We’re driving home today. I can’t wait. As much as I’ve loved being on a road trip of this size (we’re up around 3K miles at this writing), seeing people we love and want to spend time with, I’m ready to be back at my desk and in clothes that haven’t been worn six times each.
While on this trip, we’ve seen some strange things. Maybe it’s a good time for a little primer on traveling etiquette:
Wearing pajamas to breakfast at the hotel isn’t cool. I really don’t want to see your Sponge Bob pajama bottoms nor your Santa-themed flannel. These weren’t kids — full-grown adults who should know better. I’m eating here.
Bed and breakfasts aren’t hotels. No one misbehaved this trip, but it’s been needing to be said for some time now. You’re not staying at a full-service hotel — this is someone’s home usually. Arriving at midnight, wanting a snack at 3 am, or expecting breakfast at 5 am is out of line. Your host/hostess is giving you a room and a breakfast. You can’t order from a menu, nor can you fuss about not having free shampoo or shower caps. If you want to treat people rudely, stay in a hotel. No wait — stay home. You should never treat people rudely.
Business calls should not be conducted in a museum. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it. She was walking around the otherwise quiet museum, talking about project goals among the artifacts. Some people, armed with cell phones, become colossal idiots. Or maybe they just are idiots and the cell phones simply emphasize that.
Cell phones in general should be used wisely. I’m in a coffee shop now where cell phones are being used for business and other things. I think that’s expected and perfectly okay. What isn’t okay? Talking on the phone in a restaurant (at high volume), in a bathroom (I’m always tempted to shout “Be quiet! I’m trying to go to the bathroom!” just to “out” the person), or in a place where you don’t want everyone hearing your personal information or gossip. And don’t give me that look as if listening in is not cool — airing your private business in public is what’s not cool. In the last five minutes, I’ve heard the woman next to me reveal her birth date (twice — to an automated system), her phone number, and her address. If I were a heinous person, she’d be screwed.
Talking to your kids constantly is annoying. Kids are excited to be places. Their enthusiasm is great and often is fine/unnoticeable. What is noticeable and not fine are those parents who have a running dialogue with their children (who aren’t listening, I hope) about “Come this way… thank you, Evan/Rachel we don’t do that, here let’s go this way oh put your mittens on that way don’t touch that there are germs like Ebola…” Shut up. Please. Your kids know how to walk, how to breathe, and how to survive touching something germ-infested like that handrail you’re not concerned with. Unless they’re acting like animals, let them be.
Publicly disciplining your kids is embarrassing–for you. Jerking their arms off or shouting like fools is so much more disruptive than what they may have been doing. If they’re misbehaving, remove them quietly and have at them in private. It’s uncomfortable to watch an adult lose their minds on their kids. If you’re embarrassed about your kids’ behavior, think of how they feel when you act like a jerk in public.
Your wild kids are ruining everyone’s damn day. Don’t just sit there saying “Oliver, please stop.” Take your child out of the situation and refuse to bring them back if they can’t settle down. I paid money for that museum or dinner. I do NOT want to hear your fights or have your kid looking at my food or trying to get my attention or running in circles around me when I’m trying to enjoy something.
Not everyone is a dog person. A lovely woman got on the elevator with her dog, but she asked first if we minded. Thank you. No, I didn’t mind, but that you thought to offer that courtesy is refreshing.
Tailing someone isn’t safe. Even in the slow lane, they were riding our tails. If we’re in the slow lane and you’re pissed because we’re not going faster, change lanes or learn the rules of the road.
Consideration costs us nothing. I remember having my keys locked in my car at a car wash. The woman in line asked if something was wrong. I said, “Yes, I locked my keys in the car and need to reach my husband.” She said, “I wondered what the damn holdup was” and closed her window. Thanks. She must have wanted to sit a while, for had she offered her phone, I could have been out of her hair in a heartbeat.
You’re a guest in someone’s home. Act as you’d like others to act in your home. A friend of ours related a story about a friend who’d come to stay for a few days and did nothing but complain. She hated the bed, hated the food (which they’d made for her), and when she asked for popcorn and they said they didn’t think they had any, she went right over and opened their cabinet, pointed, and shouted “What the f*** do you call that?” The friend was too cordial. I’d have had that woman in a hotel (and I’d have paid to remove her) within minutes.
If you don’t clean up after yourselves, you’re not coming back. We washed our sheets/towels as we were leaving each person’s home. Not everyone likes that or needs that, but picking up your dishes, making your bed, helping with chores is just common courtesy.
What have you witnessed in your travels?