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Remember Your Manners at Events

It seems when some people are in large groups they completely forget their manners. I always seem to get stuck sitting in front of someone who talks, kicks the back of my seat, or spills something on me when I attend an event. Such was the case at my nephew’s graduation last week. I have changed the names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

The event was held at our local university, so there was plenty of seating. Unfortunately, the crowd was large and there we were a group of five. My family likes to sit together at special events, so you can understand why we couldn’t just get up and move once the irritations began. We didn’t know we should have moved until it was too late.

My sister chose our seats an hour and a half before graduation began. She had no way of knowing a group of rude, loud, and disrespectful people would sit behind us. I understand the excitement of seeing a loved one reach such an important milestone as graduating from high school. I was quite excited to watch my nephew achieve that great goal.

We realized the group behind us were going to be a distraction during the opening prayer. They visited during the prayer. They weren’t even saying anything important. They were talking about whose purse was heavier.

Please understand that I am very respectful of all religions whether I agree with their doctrine or not. That said, I don’t care if you worship sunflowers, you need to be quiet during a prayer at any event.

It went downhill from there. During one of the speeches, the group kept talking about their graduate and how they wished she would look up at them. So, one of the children in the group stood right behind me and shouted at the top her lungs, “Hannah!” This is the same little girl who kept pacing back and forth and catching bumping me or catching my hair in the process.

It was one thing after another. At one point, someone dropped the snacks and mad scrambling to grab them ensued. They drowned out more than one speaker. The thing that bothered me most occurred during a student speech. One of the adults asked, “Who bought your dress for you, Rosie?” That was quickly followed by, “Did you say thank you?” She did, if anyone cares.

I was trying to listen to the speeches. I don’t care who bought Rosie’s dress. I’m fairly confident that the people who sat around us didn’t care who bought the dress, either. We certainly didn’t care about whose purse was heavier.

We need to have some education about this. It happens nearly everywhere I go. Movie theaters, plays, conferences, training, seminars, meetings, and apparently graduations always have that small group that annoys the heck out of everyone else.

If you’re attending an event, you need to be respectful of the speakers and the people around you. You may not want to pray. Fine. Don’t. You may not care what the valedictorians have to say. Fine. Don’t listen. You may not want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. I think you should, but it’s your choice. Just don’t be disrespectful. Such behavior makes it impossible for those of us who would like to enjoy the event to concentrate on the action.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t say anything, I will tell you. I didn’t want my beloved nephew or other family members to be forced to watch what would have undoubtedly escalated into a loud argument during an event that should be nothing but happy for those who had just earned their diplomas. I didn’t want to take anything away from them.

Most people know how to behave and do so. It’s just a few who forget themselves that ruin things for the rest of us.

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