This archived article was written by: Leland Laboto
There once was a man from Nantucket, oops, no wait wrong story. There once was a man who was going about his business doing his job and other day-to-day activities and making some good progress.
This man, whom from this point forward shall be referred to as Dexter, was in the middle of an important, time-consuming project. Sitting intently at his desk, concentrating on the task at hand, Dexter was interrupted by a colleague whom not having much to do himself, decided to stop in and see how Dexter was doing today. Dexter, being the nice guy that he is, engaged this person in conversation, even though he had quite a bit more to get done for the day. Not being able to take a hint, Dexter’s visitor stayed for quite some time chatting up a storm and went well beyond wearing out his welcome. Eventually after a few hours, the visitor left and Dexter could now get back to work. However Dexter was now behind a few hours and needed to stay much later past quitting time to make up for the time lost to the visitor. Poor little Dexter was stuck there until far past his bedtime.
Forgive me for telling that boring story, who’s only entertaining aspect was the fact that the man’s name is Dexter, but there is method to my madness. Before I get to the whys of the story, I have a question. Would you do what Dexter did in this situation? If the answer is no, I agree and understand why. If your answer was yes, then I do seriously wonder why. Which brings me to the point of the story. Why would anyone let themselves be put out of what they are doing for that long in the name of politeness?
First of all, I have to say in defense of Dexter, that the person who consumed so much of his time should have known better and realized that Dexter was working and did not need to be bothered for an extended period of time. Even if it was not evident that Dexter was in fact working, a concept which may or may not be familiar to the visitor, the visitor should have been thoughtful enough to at least inquire. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, what was the visitor even thinking of anyway? I understand that the visitor, whom I have dubbed as not being worthy of a groovy alias such as I have given Dexter, may have been quite happy to see Dexter and/or may not have seen him for a while, but come on, they were in a work environment, have some sense please. Dexter was obviously in no position to sit and chat for long periods of time regardless if Dexter may have indicated otherwise.
So I am basically in a sort of roundabout way trying to figure out just what makes people inconvenience themselves to such an extent just for the sake of not being viewed as rude. I seriously do not understand this sort of behavior, but then again I can be a major jerk every now and then, and have also been accused of being selfish at times. However I believe I make a valid point in stating that Dexter should have kicked the visitor out and got back to work instead of wasting all that time. There was no need for Dexter to sit through an endless conversation such as the one taking place.
This is not the only instance where something like this could have or has happened. People do things like this all of the time and almost immediately afterwards wonder why myself included. In case at this point I happen to be misunderstood, I need to say that I am all for being polite, and was raised with excellent manners. I am simply saying that there is no need to let others take advantage of that, even if the situation should call for my being rude or worse. I see no reason, in most circumstances, to be anything but nice to people and yet at the same time I am all for being at least a little bit rude from time to time. In my eyes, nobody is above some verbal abuse should the situation require it.
Ideally things should never degenerate to a point where either party should be rude, but some people are just too dense to see things that way. In the case of Dexter and his visitor, one or the other should have broken off the conversation so that they both could accomplish what they needed to accomplish. In the visitor’s case, he should have taken account of Dexter’s time and feelings, excused himself and left. Dexter should have been able to say to the visitor something along the lines of “Hey, I’m busy, could you please get out of here so I can continue what I was doing.” But no, they just keep on being polite to the detriment of at least one of them.
So if anyone out there suffers from being overly polite I ask, for Pete’s sake, be a little bit rude from time to time. Especially if you happen to be in the middle of some kind of project that requires a little effort and/or thought. Of course anything worth doing should require some amount of thought in order to successfully accomplish. Or perhaps you may simply need a little time to be alone.
If they are your friend, family or have any courtesy whatsoever, they will understand and let you get back to what you were doing. If they do not, then to hell with them. It is not so much to ask that someone show a little understanding and to think of someone else for a change.
It is something I call common courtesy. Because we all know someone who just shows up, starts going off about anything they can think of and are completely oblivious to the fact that somebody else might just be too busy to really give them their full attention. I have been guilty of this same act every now and again, so I know that of which I speak. But when those individuals whom I was interrupting pointed out my error in the execution of social graces, I apologized and left. It is with this in mind that I ask everybody to at least make sure that somebody they are visiting is not too busy before you make yourselves comfortable. We do not need more Dexters in the world, they may eventually get fed up and go postal.
To answer a question that might be going through some people’s heads right about now, the answer is yes, I know Dexter. I have changed Dexter’s name and slightly exaggerated the circumstances for the purpose of writing my story. I hope that all reading this can forgive me for that.
Finally I would just like to say that during the course of my writing this article I happened to witness something close to being unbelievable. I was giving my friend a ride and as we turned around a corner my friend looked to the right where he pointed out that there was a man vacuuming his front lawn. To that individual I say rock on my man, rock on.