Where’s the common in common decency gone?

English: Chair
English: Chair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sitting in the restaurant where I almost always have my coffee breaks while working I saw one of the staff cleaning the chairs. It was on a Saturday morning, there was no worry of a crowd and at that time of the day, there weren’t that many people anyway.

She squatted down and started wiping the legs of the chair…that got me thinking…

Do people usually test the strength of any chair before their behinds sit on them? I know I don’t usually do that unless it’s one of those flimsy looking modern contraptions which resemble a chair. I like my chairs the old fashioned way, one where there is a respectable distance between the floor and the seat, you know?

Do people usually wonder about the legs of a chair? About the weight that its legs need to bear anytime someone sits on them? Are we even conscious about the legs of a chair when we sit on one or is it something that most of us take so much for granted that it doesn’t even enter our minds…the foundation of the chair, so to speak.

Do most people bother even cleaning the bottoms and legs of the chair? Do we bother taking a look at the legs of the chairs in our lives?

Because, you see as I traverse this path called Life, I sometimes wonder if we truly know what we are doing…okay..maybe it’s more appropriate to ask if I know what I’m doing.

We are trained from young to think about the BIG things, aren’t we? The big job, the perfect family, the big house, the perfect job, the big status, the perfect lifestyle…or whatever society considers perfect at any particular time. That’s how most of us start our lives. We have GOALS, ambitions, dreams to be someone, to have a lot of things and to make our mark in this world. We dress up in finery , we tote the latest fashion trends even though it looks more like luggage, we plug our lives into the latest gadgets…all because we want to be part of that “perfection”.

But like the legs of a chair, sometimes I think we forget about the little things, the basics of being a human living in a community. See, I’m not even talking about patience, kindness, compassion…these are virtues though so important, to an extent living in a city I get it when people aren’t. What I meant was simple common decency and sense.

Why ?

In my country, we need diagrammatic signs to show someone how to use the toilet.
In my country, we need diagrammatic signs to show someone how to use the toilet.

Well, I’m just wondering, what goes on in someone’s mind when they climb on to the seat of the commode with their shoes ON when they need to attend to business, specially when the toilets are clean.

What goes in people’s minds when they indiscriminately park their cars along the sides of roads making a two way lane into a one way lane, when there are ample parking spaces in a parking lot? Is it just to safe a few bucks?

What are people thinking when they cut queues or beat a red light (not even amber, but a red light that’s been red for a few seconds already), or when  they stand right in front of the elevator doors so that people going out are in danger of bumping into them?

Were these people in Nancy’s post even aware of what they were saying?

I don’t understand these and other things about human behaviour, but it doesn’t stop me from wondering…

Do you have any pet peeves that get on your nerves? Do you believe that common decency and sense isn’t so common anymore? And if you do, do you have any idea why that would be so?

Sometimes I wonder too, if we don’t start taking care of these little things, we as an individual and as a society might end up like this fellow here :


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41 thoughts on “Where’s the common in common decency gone?

  1. We are trained to compete to get a bigger piece of pie . . . not to cooperate to make sure everyone gets some pie.

    Some people go through life with an It’s-All-About-Me mindside which causes them to claim entitlements to which they aren’t really entitled ~ they cut in line, take more than they need, and don’t look out for anyone else.


    1. True. It’s called success…or something like that.
      I think it’s also defensive action…we are bombarded with so much of negative news of violence and all….that we are constantly on our guards…don’t you think?


  2. We dress up in finery , we tote the latest fashion trends even though it looks more like luggage, we plug our lives into the latest gadgets…all because we want to be part of that “perfection”. – This line struck me as so funny! Thank you for the great laugh Shree!

    I have plenty of pet peeves, we would need a few hours …
    The one that comes to mind right now is drivers that tailgate. I cannot stand someone on my *** and it happened today – really every day it seems. I find it obnoxious, careless, stupid, and dangerous. I like to beep at them to see if they will slow down, or better yet, pass me!
    excellent post 🙂


    1. I’m terrified of motorcyclists. They seriously have this “This road is my grandfather’s” complex + that dangerous risky attitude! Well over here most of them do 😉

      Yay! I’m glad the post made you laugh!! Actually it is kinda funny if you imagine it huh? 🙂


  3. Oh, that poor man! You can almost see the thought bubble over his head when the first leg snaps: “Oh, crap. Now what do I do?”

    I think “common” decency breaks down when we stop seeing other people as ‘people like us’. In a car, or in a city, it’s easy to dehumanize others because they become part of the landscape. I don’t think there’s any lack of feeling for our fellow humans; there’s just a failure to perceive them as fellow humans. Whenever a sad story comes up on the news or on Facebook, there’s a huge outpouring of support for the people involved, because they are suddenly identified as ‘people like us’. Now if we could all just hold onto that feeling…


    1. So true Diane. I love the internet and modern technology because it has it’s wonderful aspect of it. However, we have taken it to an extreme where human interaction is now more virtual than personal…and that on top of “racing like rats to success” and “modern living” has just deteriorated our sense of connection with people…as people.


  4. I agree it is not common anymore. It is sad to think about. Not only is common decency not common, but I think it bothers me most when people really go out of their way to be unkind. Not just to neglect to do something that should be common sense. Let me give you an example. I used to work at a pizza restaurant and once we had these teenage boys come in and they took the breadstick dipping sauce and deliberately smeared it all over the booth – on top of the table, on the seats, under the table – just everywhere – and it was clear this was not just like they got a little messy, oh no, it was clear it was deliberate. They didn’t have to do that and I don’t know why they did that, but it bothered me so much that they went out of their way to make life more difficult for us. So I guess there are probably some things of the common decency sort, but it bothers me most when people ignore that all together and go out of their way to make things more difficult for others.


    1. Wow…that really was over the top! I understand as well because there are times when I can’t seem to get why people behave in certain ways..like in the story you shared! Then again sometimes I wonder…have I been like that too??!!!??
      But I’m quite hopeful that I’m not..hehe.
      There may have been a lot of reasons why that group of boys did what they did. I mean if we look at it superficially it could be that they well ill mannered boys, or mean. Or maybe their parents didn’t teach them how to behave, or maybe one was dared to do it…hmm..


      1. Okay, I thought I had no common decency pet peeves, but I thought of one today lol. Spurred by a trip to the grocery store. I went in to get bread, 2 gal of milk, and juice. So I’m there with my four things so I am like “I will use the 20 items or less lane” because I only had four things. But the person who was currently using it must have had at least 50 things. It really bothers me when people use the x items or less lane when they clearly have many, many more items than that. Okay, pet peeve rant over lol.


        1. Ooooooo…Melissa…THAT”S one of my pet peeves too!!!! I usually try counting the stuff in a person’s cart just to make sure I don’t need to mentally roll my eyes at them 😛

          You are most welcome to search for this post the next time you need to rant on a pet peeve. Consider this a magical post…it allows you to rant about it and as you leave it behind, it will automatically transmute it into a light and send it up and away!!


  5. Your writing, besides the good points you made, got me thinking and that, in my opinion, is a sign of good writing.
    I got to thinking how trusting we are not only sitting on chairs but how often do we check our car tyres, breaks ect. before we drive off with only a white line between us and the on coming traffic. Mindfulness takes on a whole new detention.


    1. Thank you kindly Jack for your comment 🙂 It make me happy when I know that what is written gives thought to those who read!

      It’s true isn’t it. How much we take for granted, without being aware…


        1. Ah…cryptic…I kinda like those, though I’ll be honest, sometimes it sort of flies over my head..OR I read too much into things, which is why I am still learning to balance 🙂

          Thank you and same to you too! 🙂


          1. I think everyone can put their own interpret on words to some extent. That is why the feedback from comments is so important.
            In conversation we can rephrase and repeat what is said but with writing that is not as easy.
            I think most arguments are caused by misunderstanding.
            When I say may the Force be with you, The Force is what ever you believe to be the absolute all powerful that keeps the whole cosmos in equilibrium. 🙂


            1. I looked for it on Amazon and it’s now on my wish list! If I visit a book shop I’ll look for it locally 😀 Thank you for the suggestion. I read a bit of it on Amazon and his words are so poetic!


  6. Ack! Other drivers, Shree! How dare they be on the same road that I’m on!
    Erm, I mean, yes. Ahem. We really should be more tolerant to, well, everything that riles us really! Life would be so much easier if we were!


  7. Poor guy in the chair!

    There seems to not be a lot of common decency these days. I remember hearing Colin Powell, the American general, talking about the “growing incivility” 10 or so years ago, and I thought that was very true.

    And on your other topic, we take almost everything for granted in our modern world, from codes and standards for buildings, bridges, and roads, food safety, drug safety, drinking water treatment, maintenance on airplanes, ships, buses, trucks, electrical appliance safety. . . almost everything we use or consume could be lethal.


    1. It’s true Peter. I have hope though. The more people who are aware, the more we become just decent people, the more it will form a ripple effect. Or else we just wait this whole era out for things to go back to what it was..haha.

      It’s true. We do take a lot of things for granted. The thing is I just wondered how is it that we who call ourselves developed or progressed as a species still don’t realize how silly and mean we’ve become as a species!


  8. Certainly lots to ponder on here. You have presented many realities that we take for granted as “just there” or it “just is.” We may not like it. We may feel unable to do anything about it. We may put blinders onto we don’t have to look at them full on.

    About the pet peeves you enumerated. Don’t get me started please. I have often wondered if people are doing these things without thinking. Or did they decide it’s okay because they will not get caught or no one will tell them off anyway? It’s all very inconsiderate and is pathognomonic of a narcissistic bent.


    1. Hehehe…ok about not getting you started on your pet peeves 😉 I sometimes wonder too…I mean if one were to just think for a moment…ah, but that’s judgmental. Then again, I love it when my sister says “I am judgmental and I’m okay with it!” – when it comes to her pet peeves..lol


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