A Lesson In Courtesy

“Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” Theodore Roosevelt
My husband and I had a last minute date night last night. We were fortunate enough to be gifted some amazing tickets to see the Brave play the Phillies and the seats were amazing. Well…they would have been amazing had the seat stealers actually moved back to where they were supposed to sit. No matter. We sat just a few seats down and the seats were still amazing. We were in left field, in the home run ball zone, and my husband was beyond tickled. It was an amazing night, the weather was perfect, and all we had to pay for was the parking and our food and drink and souvenirs.

And then they sat down. A group of young, beautiful people. Who were, for a lack of better words, shitty drunk. High pitched voices of the women pierced our ears, disturbing the quiet murmuring of the crowds around us. Incessant drunken conversation that stemmed around the procuring of more alcohol. Knees hitting chairs, loud and unnecessary chatter…honestly it reminded me of that scene from Mean Girls. All of the vapid, meaningless name dropping of the camera men to try and get on tv since the game was televised combined with the drunken yammering was enough to kill the mood for us. My husband moved us. Twice. (No worries…unfortunately for the Braves the stands weren’t filled so we weren’t taking anyone’s seats.) We managed to get far enough away from the drunkards to satisfy my husband.

As we sat back in our newly acquired seats, we were able to relax and watch the game. We held hands, kissed, talked about the players and the obvious mistakes in the plays. We marveled at the perfection of the weather and the night, how amazing it would be to do this again as a date night and how much fun the kids would have going to a game. The look on my husbands face as he watched the game was priceless. And to think, all of his happiness at being at Turner Field could have been taken away by a handful of discourteous attendees. I took a picture of the back of their heads and ranted on instagram about them.

obnoxious ballgame people

“Thank you, drunk and obnoxious attendees of tonight’s Braves game. Because of your ridiculous and incessant prattle, we had to actually leave our seats. Just because you are young doesn’t give you the license to drink irresponsibly, talk loudly for the ENTIRE section to hear, and detract from the entire experience around you. Be wary of how you present yourselves in public, for you never know if the people you irritate are the ones looking at your resumes.”

And then I thought of all the times my behavior may have been seen as discourteous or rude. Instead of washing myself in all of the guilty feelings and wallowing in my ignorance, I took a step back and thought about something my dad has always said. ‘Where their rights begin, yours end.’ It has taken a long time for me to know what that means to me and how to apply it in my life. I can’t expect people to do what I want them to do all of the time. I’m not their keeper nor am I their mother and if what they are doing is bothering me, I have a choice on how to handle it. I can either speak up and make my discomfort known, which can lead to arguments when alcohol is involved, OR I can make the choice to remove myself from the situation. Last night, my husband made that choice to remove us both from an uncomfortable situation without causing a scene or making a fuss. And for that I am grateful. I am grateful that his courteous behavior removed from the company of discourteous people.

Life really is what you make of it. You can roll with it, rage against it, or remain stagnant and allow it to over take you. Last night, we rolled with it. Last night we learned more life lessons.  And last night was a good lesson on how to handle rude behavior without even saying a word.

“Courtesy is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.” John Wanamaker

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