5/13/2007

Uncouth Youth

I went out to breakfast this morning up at the 1661 Inn. It is of course Mothers Day and the in-house mother had been invited out to eat by the newest mother in the family, her husband, and their daughter. So off we go to the best place on the Island for a quiet breakfast, in a very nice location and with Old Island ambiance.

When we entered the building through the lobby, my attention was immediately drawn to FOUR (4) different YOUNG men in the dining room and at the buffet table. The reason for the attraction? All four of them were seated at four different tables with their significant others, and each one of them was wearing a HAT! At the table! In a dining room! In someone Else's "house"! Has this society finally gone over the edge and begun it's slow slide to oblivion?

The blatant disregard for the MOST BASIC rules of etiquette are routinely ignored by the group of people of my children's generation and the upcoming one. The wearing of a hat indoors was and is a huge no-no to my generation. This was drilled into me by my mother and father and then for another 20 years by the US Navy. To my way of thinking, it is as big a slap in the face, as would be a punch by a prize-fighter, to the person who owns and maintains the building you have entered.

There are places where it is acceptable to wear a hat, Wal-Mart, grocery stores, garages, etc. But I have a hard time restraining myself from hat removal when I first enter these places.

I think it is the epitome of dis-courteousness, and a direct reflection of your lack of any basic social graces, apparently NOT instilled in you as a child, if you are an offender. It just shows how much you disrespect the abode and the people who inhabit that abode you have entered. You might as well spit on the floor as you enter, it couldn't be any more uncouth!

Well as good as the breakfast was, and as good as was the company, I was just put off by having to see on three sides of me, this piss poor behavior by these four ignorant people! I would dearly love to have told each of them off, but in a rare moment of restraint, and not desirous of creating a riot in Steve and Rita's wonderful setting, I held my tongue, albeit with a big pair of pliers, and weighted down with a cement block!

I am sure that Arnold Toynbee would agree that we have made at least the first step on the slippery slope to dis-integration! And all because some folks are to dumb to come in from the rain! TIFN.

45 comments:

Sam said...

Oh Everett you can't correct all of society's ills, so how are Steve and Rita doing?

I'll never forget we had a Town meeting and the Chairman had a hat on while both indoors and fixing to do the Pledge of Allegiance. So I twapped his hat right off his head.

Pay no attention to social misfits and cretins, Everett, we done lost that battle years ago, pay no mind.

warbler said...

Some of still teach our children that. Even though Bobby, Tyler, Andre and Percival are wearing their hats indoors at the restaurants, We do not. Now, if we could just get those same cretins to put their grocery carts in the proper place...

Deirdre said...

I know those guys! Only when I saw them they weren't wearing hats indoors, they were sitting on their butts on the Muni (bus) while pregnant women and the elderly were standing.
In times like that it is very helpful to have an extra copy of "Tiffanys Table Manners for Teenagers" handy (Julia has it all but memorized). Otherwise I'm afraid you have to keep mum, at least until they are done sending text messages during dinner.

Anonymous said...

But, illegal, iresponsible open burning is cool?

Anonymous said...

Lighten up...It sounds like you let a coupple of schmucks ruin a nice meal.

Everett said...

To anonymous 15 May, Nope, not cool by a long shot! Actually is was hot as hell! I think! I'll let you know after I've visited down there! Will I be seeing you there?

Sam said...

What's going on? Weren't you one of those emergency responders back in the old days, Everett?
sam

Everett said...

Yeah Sam I was, for twelve years. These type of comments come from all the people who come here and with great verve and fervor, endeavor to save us from ourselves! They do their best to turn it into the same place they came from, and when they make some small progress after a few years, they are up and gone just like a tumble weed leaving behind their for the most part ill thought out and inflicted ideas. I have been compiling a list of all these,'reformers' and one of these days I'm going to just put up their names up here, with the main fiasco associated with them that they perpetrated on us, or tried to anyway! Hay-sus, it is getting longer by the minute!! TIFN

Anonymous said...

Sam again you miss the point. This is about Everetts huge sense of entitlement.

Everett said...

Anony of 5/17 8:38 pm. Just what particular items is it that you think I am "hugely entitled" to? The fact that I had the gall to do some open burning? Look around at more than what you see on the side of the road and you'll find that it goes on all over the Island. The statements that I made in the above comment? Well my family has had a presence in an unbroken line on this Island for over 340 years. I think THAT does give me a 'feeling' of some sort of entitlement to speak out when people come here and try to undo and change, the very reasons that attracted most people to the Island in the first place. It is ones like you that want it to become another "Hamptons LI" or Nantucket that I can't stand!
Let's see now harping back to other post's, would it be my sense of entitlement that compels me to roll through a stop sign at about one to two mph when I can see for a hundred yards in either direction that no vehicle, pedestrian, bike, or moped is within site? Nope, not entitlement,just saving a little time and $4 fuel and hoping that Chief Carlone or one of his minions is not behind a telephone pole some where watching me,BREAK THE LAW! Something I'm sure you have NEVER even contemplated doing,after emerging from that Ivory Tower that you live in!
So how about listing a few more of these "entitlements" I feel I am heir apparent too as I am at a loss, other than maybe thinking that I am entitled to breathe some of that rarefied air that you also partake of. So I sit here in, total discombobulation as I await your reply!TIFN

Sam said...

I guess I missed the storyline there. It was some open burning. Oh.

Hey did ya get a Notice of Violation or was everything OK?
-sam

Everett said...

No notice of violation, and I guess that is what provoked the "huge entitlement" comment. I just thought of two more things I am entitled to also. One is stopping outside the Orange Cat,(small resturant by the Surf) for two minutes IN THE WINTER, whilst I run, err, walk insde to fetch a cup of coffee. The other thing I am entitled to is to be able to park in the fire lane at the school for a minute or so while dropping something off. I know in that small time frame, if the school was to catch fire, I'd NEVER be able to step outside the door to remove my car before the fire trucks got there!!!

Sam said...

So I don't get it, if you haven't broken some kind of rule, how were you "entitled" to any preferential treatment? Remember, compliance and enforcement requires two things, a broken rule and "discovery" that involves some factual evidence from a complaintant. You can bust all the traffic laws you want, but if the cops pull you over, well, you're nabbed.

The word "entitled" in derived from the days of the English Lords who were treated as being above the laws of the Kingdom (meaning commoners). Have you been entitled to any preferential treatment?

OK, in that case I dub thee SIR LITTLEFIELD OF THE SLIGHTLY TOASTED LANDS.
/sammie

Anonymous said...

So there it is folks,we can all pick and chose what laws to obey and which ones we want to ignore.

anonyhonestmous said...

Don't we do that every time we speed (because none of us have done that)? Or every time we took a drink - even one sip - before the age of 21? Or not shoveled our own sidewalks during winter? I'm pretty sure there's a small percentage, like maybe 1 02 2%, of the Americaan population that doesn't pick and choose which laws they obey. And I'm pretty sure the anonymous sniper has driven by the school at more than 25 mph or taken their dog to the beach without a leash.

Sam said...

You said that, not me, and I don't appreciate anonymous "cyber-snipers" putting words in my mouth. What you just admitted was that you don't fully understand the practicalities of compliance, enforcement, civil, administrative, or tort law.

If you have a problem with Everett's open burning, why don't you frog-march yourself down to the Town Clerk and file a complaint, hire a lawyer, and find a court? It will cost you about five to ten grand and you could lose, but hey, this started out about "entitlement" and you can't prove that in a court of law. Try common law nuisance, code violations, or something else.

Surely you must know about our legal system. In criminal cases a person is innocent until proven guilty using a standard of "a shadow of doubt" that would clear his or her name. In civil cases there must be a preponderance of evidence that is not contradicted by the presented facts and testimony.

Jurors are screened and selected to get rid of the ones just like you, who form opinions that cloud their ability to understand and evaluate the facts as presented within the case, and no other evidence from the outside world.

Nobody is suggesting that anyone should be selective about which parts of the law they should or should not followed.

Perhaps you would like to live under Islamic Law where everything is literally cut and dried. I will defend our system of American justice against creeps like you any day and every day. To suggest that my core values were anything different would be a gross mischaracterization and a direct insult.

I find you to be an unpleasant and unconstructive person who does not seek to understand, does not have a sense of humor, and probably needs to get out more often. For shame.

Sam Wells

Anonymous said...

ahh.....back to the hats. It's a not illegal or to wear a hat inside or out.

Anonymous said...

surely we're better than picking on people who wear hats or do some burning. Can't we find something alittle more important to complain about?

Everett said...

I think C-sniper would love to live under Islamic law. He would probably have ingratiated himself with the "bosses" and become the head enforcer of all laws Islamic. There would most probably be 'heads rolling' down the front street, literally! Mine first!

Sam said...

Oh there's plenty of issues to beef about, and it will become more obvious when they start bringing over more than 20 ferryboats a day. Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, although I know BI doesn't swing into high gear until later in June. Then there's what we learned over the last few years, we (I'm on a different island) get many more day trippers and visitors every year but tax revenue seems to be going down! What's up with that?

Here's a good one - how about all the brush that has grown on the Island over the last three decades? I know some people like their privacy but ... poison ivy and all kinds of nasty stuff? I much liked the looks of Block Island mowed and with wind breaks around the houses. All those noxious weeds harbor disease and tick-carrying vectors and can create a heck of a fire hazard in a drought.

That reminds me - Everett, you weren't burning poison ivy were you? Those oils go right into the air and you can kill people downwind that way!

I suppose a good old brawl about hats, fires, and such mundane things is a sign you're enjoying the calm before the storm. I hope you get some cool birds coming through this Spring. /sam

Everett said...

Nope. no PI(poison ivy) I saw the results of that when I was a kid. Someone WAS burning it and Denny Heinz got downwind of it and it very nearly killed him! It was touch and go for a few days!

Anonymous said...

Is that what constitutes a sense of entitlement these days? Open burning, rolling through stop signs and double parking on an otherwise deserted street to get coffee?
Wow.
I'd love to know what things like, getting away with openly terrorizing and threatening a respected teacher at the school, or say, leaving the scene of an injury accident and the like would be..? I'm pretty sure you don't even have to be in an unbroken 300+ year familial chain in order to qualify for the benefits that come with the powers that be looking the other way in those situations, do you?
Easy to cast stones. Not as easy to admit that even those who cast might be in denial.
I give you credit, Everett. I really do. Wouldn't it be great if everyone who read this blog actually took some time to put things into perspective before casting aspersions?
But then, what's a blog for?

Sam said...

Well let me tel you. A blog is a teckie combination of the two words "web" plus "log." The person who runs it is basically saying what crosses his or her mind.

As techology advanced, features were added so the common rabble like you or me could comment on a blog posting thread. It was not meant as a democratic thing in the least, and the blog administrator could delete any and all comments if that's what they wanted. Many people fail to realize that blogs are by nature NOT democratic.

If you want to engage in discourse that is more open, that is called a "forum." Forum software evolved from old fashioned buletin boards where people could argue the finer debating points in a more moderated and democratic setting. It takes a bunch of money, moderators, and fancy computer skills to run a forum these days, such as PHP technology and SQL/Apache computer languages, so most of us said boo and reverted to simpler blogs that were automated online.

Basically, you don't have a right to even criticize the blog owner even though you think you can. It's not about YOU, it's all about having a web-log of the owner's personal thoughts, notes, gripes, and whatever they want. If you want a dialog just pick up the damn phone, right?

I do get tired of people saying that outsiders don't count. Block Island is maybe the most provincial, narrow-minded place sometimes, with petty peeves and accusations of "entitlement." People from all over the world are looking at this stuff. Can you imagine a Japanese dude in a Tokyo sushi bar reading your rant and whine about "casting aspersions"?

But yes, you get viewers all over the world and they see right through your shit.

Anonymous said...

Sam,
Are you saying just b/c someone wears a hat he/she is a social misfit or a cretin? Perhaps you should look a little deeper.

not the cyber sniper said...

Sam,
Thanks for clarifying everything about the nature of blogs. I didn't realize that a person is not allowed to log on and disagree with the blog owner/moderator. I was confused by the link for reply/comment.

Thanks for once again shedding light on a rather murky subject. Really what would islanders do or think without your comments.
thx

Everett said...

Not Cyber Sniper.When you set up the parameters for your own personal blog, you have the opportunity to either allow the public to participate via the comment section, or you can dis-allow any comments. But You have to be pretty narrow minded to just vent without wanting to get some feed back.So I opted for allowing comments even when they do not agree with my stance on a particular item of discourse. Besides, IT IS FUN TO SHOUT AT PEOPLE SOMETIMES AND THEY CANNOT ACTUALLY PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH!!!. BTW, capital letters signify shouting in this type of forum. Bye now!

Miss Manners said...

Everett has a point, and even though hats inside a building don't offend some, his point is a good one. It's a societal step in a direction most of us ultimatly don't like. Civil liberties and personal freedom aside, when social "rules" and cues are ignored, it creates disorder.

My particular gripe has to to with no shirt and no shoes. I don't like shopping in the BIG with big sweaty, hairy shirtless guys (what kind of hair IS that on the produce?) or with the girls in thong bikinis and tatoos. There IS a time and a place for everything.

As we head into summer, remember Everett "little gripe" as you see people urinating in public, throwing their garbage on the ground, beeping their moped horns non-stop, crossing the street without looking AND not in the crosswalk.

When you have to have your kids step around gum, dog piles and vomit on the sidewalk while you explain inexplicable wardrobes to them......remember that Everett had a good point.

While it may be the hat that offended him....it's what follows that offends us all.

Anonymous said...

Miss Manners,
Your point is a good one. I'm just concerned w/ how someone was labeled a cretin b/c of a hat. I know several folks who wear sun hats and ball caps who are fine citizens, who have never left gum, vomit or any trash on the sidewalk. Jumping from hats all the way to cretins....too big a leap.

Everett said...

I don't believe I put forth the notion that everyone who wears a hat is a cretin, just the ones who wear them inside houses, churches, schools, restaurants etc.
This acceptance of the passing of common decency and manners by so much of the public, is what will eventually bring this country to it's knees. It is just symptomatic of the decline in the morals and "honor" of the folks of the USA. When people feel there is no need to behave with honor, honesty, and COURTESY toward their compatriots, then this lets you place your foot on the edge of the slippery slope toward anarchy and the final collapse of all this country has stood for for a couple hundred years. Just take a look at ALL the crooked politicians. They are NOT IN OFFICE TO SERVE YOU!!! They are there to line their pockets at your expense, and it WILL eventually catch up with us all! But more importantly, with our kids and grand-children down the road!! So take your damned hat off, and stop peeing and puking on the street corner whoever is guilty of said actions!

anonymouse said...

I've been pondering this topic about wearing hats and caps indoors at social functions and the the comments ranging from the "collpase of civilization as we know it" versus "this is not really a big deal" and have decided to throw in my limited "two-cents."

At this point, I'm beginning to find myself agreeing with Everett and those who are pointing to the unravelling of the social fabric.

A point of reference- back in the early days of Rudy Guiliani's governance of NYC, he decided to take a firm stand against the minor crimes and social problems plaguing the city, with the idea that if you tolerate the mess of all that it seems to send a message that you don't really care about the integrity of your society. By taking this stand against the smaller and seemingly inconsequential problems, the Guiliani administration sent a message that resulted in a safer, cleaner, and more vibrant NY.

In evoking this example I am not implying that the wearing of a cap or hat -indoors- is the equivalent of criminal activity. No. I think the interesting part is the message that a society establishes about what it expects of its members, and that this message is communicated not only in the "big" issues a community faces, but also in its seemingly smaller and perhaps inconsequential messages about what is expected of its members-- and what is tolerated as acceptable behavior.

One of the things that troubles me, as I seem to approach old fogeydom, is that there has been a greater toleration- if not glamorization of crudeness. I think we witnessed some of the fallout in the Imus controversy, an incident that had the potential to push our society towards a great debate about the various factors contributing to this general coarsening--if it had not been manipulated by various political agendas.

So, in reflecting on Everett's posting of "uncouth youth", I do think that there's a good deal to reflect on here, as the uncouth youth of our society live up to the models, and expectations offered to them by our society.

Anonymous said...

maybe you're right but showing bellies/mid-sections,body piercings and tatoos, to me, are much more offensive than a cap. At least a cap, it can be argued, may prevent some unsanitary issues...especially with today's long hairstyles.

Sam said...

It used to be considered uncivilized for a man to NOT wear a hat outdoors. Only young kids and heathens went un-hatted. If you approached a lady you had to tip your hat. If a funeral procession went by, you had to stop and remove your hat. Most all establishments including the lowliest taverns and bars had hat racks because wearing a hat inside was a no-no. The rise of the foam plastic "gimme" hat with advertising on it seemed to blow the traditions away. Don't blame it all on the hippies, since the rednecks were the ones that started wearing John Deere and Miller Beer gimme caps inside.

anonymouse said...

I agree about the hyper-sexualized fashions that even little girls end up wearing. And I, too, find body piercing-tattoos etc somewhat objectionable. Here two things arise----
First, who's buying the little kids and adolescents that skimpy clothing?
Second, my objections to body piercing, etc are formed by the Greco-Roman ideas about the body and physical beauty that have shaped wester civ for at least 1900 years. If I was a Maori native of (what is know known as) New Zealand, I would expect to see the bodies of my friends, family, and other members of my community completely adorned with tatoos and piercings.

Again, we're back to communal expectations about what it means to live as a normal person in a particular community.
Are those expectations something that calls us forth to the best human person I can possibly become- or have we set the bar rather low?
Which makes me wonder---- what does it mean when a society embraces mediocrity and coarseness, rather than a set of higher expectations for our common life and humanity?

Anonymous said...

Anonymouse,
You make some great points. You're right we've accepted, if not embraced , mediocrity. I'm with you!

Anonymous said...

Let's start with the non-hat wearers who can't use the words "please" and "thank you." This is where the downward spiral begins. It's not in the uniform, it's in the language.

Sam said...

Perhaps it is a lesson to us all that once we sit in judgment of others, people who are not accused of real violations and crimes that can be proven in a court of law, we are saying more about ourselves than to speak to the real or tangible issue.

anonymouse said...

It may be necessary to distinquish between judging behavior and passing judgement. I'm not sure that judging behavior is necessarily a bad thing. Moreover, in this particular case it does reveal something about those who are judging these actions-- and that revelation is that folks expect a certain degree of civility. In the case of some postings here-- I'd say that it reveals that some persons maintain "great expectations" for their fellow human beings--- and I think that's probably a good thing.

Think about this--- wouldn't you want a school to maintain great expectations of its faculty and students or would you rather a school that aims at mediocrity?

And certainly one needs to cultivate a set of social skills as much as one needs to cultivate one's mind and physical health.

I think that it's actually gotten to the point where some schools of business offer crash courses on etiquette-- recognzing that one needs a certain set of social skills to just make it past the interview, much less suceed in one's chosen career.

So, I'm all for judging behavior and establishing "great expectations" with the hope that I will do what I can to strive to become a better person myself.

Sam said...

That's actually quite philosophical and deep. Most all people are discriminatory as to their friends, cars, food, beverages, architecture, music, art, and social interactions, just to list a few. We might claim to be anti-discriminatory, as in not being bigoted or racist, but in fact every single action we take is discriminating - you chose one thing to do among maybe 500 possibilities.

My question is why some folks feel a need to hold other people in judgment, as if they had a right to do that outside of a courtroom. It smacks of the herding instinct where dominant alpha males or females want to impose their will on a group of people. In trivial matters such as these I have no quarrel. You might think that a poor man's folly; I think of it as free-will, freedom, free thinking, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

You got a problem with that?

anonymouse said...

To think that the only legitimate place for judging is the courtroom might be a bit naive. Heck-- haven't you ever seen "American Idol"?

Realistically, people do have to to make judgements about other persons and situations. On one hand, some of this judging is motivated by fear of difference or even by one person's need to feel superior, more important than another person. On the other hand, some of it is common sense and motivated by the desire to ensure the flourishing of a community or its members.
A simple example: Say, that my brother has a serious problem with drug and alcohol abuse. Would it be wise to have him babysit my kids for an evening? If I allowed him to take care of them and something tragic happened, would I not be held responsible for "poor judgement" in that situation?

As Americans we value the ideals of free will, liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, even the founding fathers believed that there were a built in set of guidelines within the life of a community that directed these freedoms towards the flourishing of both individuals and the community. (This is all sketched out in that classic book "Habits of the Heart".) For most of the founding fathers the Protestant Christian moral ethos provided that overarching governance. Jefferson, however, aimed for the secular principle of good reason and probably relied on the system of virtue developed by the Greeks-- but I'm a bit fuzzy on that one. So recognize that while it is easy to espouse freedom, free will and free thinking our own society has established what is normative for communal life. That's just the way communties/groups/societies work.

Additionally-- how do we negotiate the clash in freedom and the individual's pursuit of happiness?
For example-- the expansion of marinas might be important for boaters and their pursuit of happiness- but the community has clearly expressed that it will not bring happiness to the majority of islanders. So ---- who wins this one?

To put it simply. Am I judging whether a person is good or bad by failing to embrace social mores? Not really because these social codes do not really address ethical issues. But I do think that this is tied into the important topic of communal and personal character.

Sam said...

The Champlian's marins expansion was a bad example because it DID end up in court and was not a matter of social mores but of staking claim to submerged land held in the public trust.

By the way, I think Rhode Island was founded by folks who left the strict Calvanist Puritans of Massachussets. But no matter, you made some great points and I have no argument.

You might read some more on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Benjamin Franklin, three of my favorite Founding Fathers. There could recite entire sections of the Bible not only in English but in Greek and Latin as well. However, they were Deists, not strict Protestants of any certain brand. Calvanists treated them as evil
heretics. Natural theology and freethinking were cornerstones of Deism.

So you have your opinions, and I hold mine that reason and science will triumph over authority, tradition, and dogma. However, I still have one quality I hope can preserve - respect! /sammie

learned from my family-pssed it on to my kids said...

Everett-- Must agree with you on all issues. Wearing a hat indoors is only the beginning. Awareness of social propriety, manners, appropriate behaviors/language(#@$%^&^%$)/common sense/ courtesy, and so on seem to have passed by the wayside. I do not paint this picture with a broad brush as there are, indeed well mannered folks, young and old who either innately or through parental guidance are aware of certain mores that make this trek through life more pleasant for all and maintain a modicum of social expectations/rectitude.
Must add that if these hat wearers were boisterous I would not have hesitated to complain to the management.
And you--we-- who are getting on in years should be "entitled" to several perks as long as we are not infringing on the rights of others. That is not to say we have free rein because of our age but rather that we just may have earned some "points" in our time by respecting others and being fairly good citizens.
An aside-----example: I stop my car to allow youngish folks to cross street(they're not using a crosswalk) and they AMBLE almost purposefully. Do the same for me and I dash and wave thank you. Do not get me started!!!!!!! I'd rate 65-70% of folks as aware----the rest may never "get it".

anonymaybe said...

41 comments about hats. 0 about the Town Hall. I think it shows a hope for the societal future.

Sam said...

Well yeah, you're fixing to have a few tens of thousands of people on the Island this summer and about half will abuse alcohol in some form or fashion, or otherwise display horrendous manners. Forget the hats, run for cover!

So I agree with Everett that many people don't respect the old traditions, but you can't force it on them and after all, that's how you make your money. You also raised the rental rates so high about all you got is drunk day trippers.

It used to be you could tell the obnoxious people by their clothes and where they came from, like we used to say folks from "New Joisey" were the worst. Now it's everyone, almost like the younger generation rebelled worse than the hippies! Everett, you do remember the hippies, right?

Hey let's all go to the old dump and smoke some pot! I actually heard that line from an older fella and thought it was hysterical.

anonymouse said...

Sam,
Could you point us to where you found the statistics that about 50% of our summer visitors will abuse alcohol? I wasn't aware that there was actual data.

Could you also please explain the correlation between housing rental prices and drunk day trippers? From what I can tell the island summer housing rental prices are not out of line with other seaside communities in RI ( take Narragansett for example) --- and I'm not sure that these other communities have been able to track that relationship to drunk day trippers visiting their beaches and their summer rental prices.

If anything, you now have me thinking that if rental rates were lower that would mean that the island would have an influx of drunks renting houses and staying for at least a week.
If that was the case I'm guessing that my house would get trashed during the summer.

Thanks.

Sam said...

About half, let's say, either Type A bingers or Type B closet drinkers, just like the islander adults, mon. I have a consulting business and I'd love it if you'd write me an all-expenses paid contract to survey and document the results. Hah, I'll start with the folks down at the Red Bird.
/sammie