In his book, Why We Hate Us, author Dick Meyer writes about America’s lack of manners and basic regard for one another. Just as the loud-talking cell phone user gets on our last nerve by making everyone around him privy to the details of his last doctor’s appointment, so are we all less concerned with (and sometimes less aware of) each other and more concerned with ourselves. Mr. Meyer deftly differentiates between individualism and narcissism.
Long gone, it would seem, are the days when one would call a hostess or return a card to accept or decline an invitation. Instead many just hope the hostess will get the hint. This passive-aggressive way of wiping off of an undesired other, once reserved for the creepy blind date or clingy acquaintance, would now appear to be the norm – a new social order for dealing with anyone and everyone. In what has become a national mindset of every man for himself, even the simplest effort of holding the door for a stranger with a cumbersome load is thought to be a random (if not special and isolated) act of kindness instead of a common courtesy.
We often regard our fellow man as a loathsome creature, unworthy of our time and notice. We do still, however, hold the business world to a higher standard, even as a decline in customer service training seems to rear its ugly head with our every business exchange and corporate regard for others is at an all time low.
It was with some surprise, then, that I received a phone call yesterday from my husband while he was at work. He had been contacted by Blue Browning of The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, and that he wished to speak with me. It is curious how and why the program’s researchers went to all the trouble of locating my husband’s work number aboard a military installation when my email address is readily available on this, the Blogcritics site.
The program was unknown to me, and it was with some reservation that I returned the call. Mr. Browning had read an article of mine wherein I took issue with stay-at-home wives and their supporter, Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women.
Mr. Browning wondered if I would be interested in joining Dr. Haltzman and a few others for the Friday, August 15th broadcast, when the secrets of the happily married woman will be discussed. I expressed my interest in doing so and was contacted by the program’s producer, Nicole Puleo, a few minutes later. Ms. Puleo was also interested in my participation and said she’d call later in the day to follow up.
No such call came.
I safely assume my participation is no longer desired since even the hastiest flight would not accommodate a ready guest for Friday’s broadcast. I am reminded of something Bette Davis said when told by Johnny Carson that some celebrities confirmed their appearances on his program and then didn’t show – and didn’t notify anyone that they weren’t going to show. With scathing sarcasm, Ms. Davis said of these celebrities, “Charming.”
While disappointed that I won’t be appearing with Mike and Juliet to discuss the social curiosity of stay-at-home wives, it is more troublesome that I went without a courtesy call from Ms. Puleo or Mr. Browning. Many people would have to move a few things around to accommodate a last minute activity, but as I told the program’s representatives, I was happy to do so even though we are in the final stretch of an international household move.
I fear to think of the kind of personal or professional tragedy that might have befallen Ms. Puleo or Mr. Browning, prevented them from making the least gesture, but I would offer my sincerest sympathies were I to learn of it.
On the off chance I’m mistaken, and the lack of follow up was merely a gross oversight, then perhaps The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet will next feature the kind of boorish and ill-mannered behaviors described in Why We Hate Us – using themselves as the featured for-instance.