Friday, 11 July 2014

Should I be gracious or irritated?

Yesterday, in the Library, something went wrong at the self-service check out, when the machine told me to get one of my books stamped at the desk.   As there appeared to be no-one else in the Library, I left my card and my books in the machine.   When I returned to the machine there was a lady (much younger than yours truly!) standing there.   I apologised, took my books out and prepared to start again.

At this point she interrupted and suggested that she did it as there was 'really no need to start again' and she would 'do it for me dear'.  It was that final 'dear' that got to me.   I may look as though I am almost in my dotage but I am definitely not and am more than capable of running a few library books through the machine.

This sort of thing happens all the time.   I am wielding my shopping trolley off the pavement (I am often quite lethal with a shopping trolley) and some kind gentleman of indeterminate age will ask if he can do it for me.   Or I am carrying a cup of coffee to my table in a self-service restaurant and someone will ask if they can carry the cup for me (I have a tremor).

My immediate urge is to snap out that I am not in my dotage and that I am quite capable of doing it myself thank-you.   But then I think, they are only doing it to be considerate - so I smile (perhaps a tad frostily) and thank them politely but no thanks.

I do wish people wouldn't do it.  I am sure they mean well, but it just serves to make one feel older and less capable of managing.   Or is it just me who feels like this.   Am I being an awkward old cus?

On a lighter note.   The word 'thwaite' is a Yorkshire dialect word meaning 'clearing', which makes our surname 'Thistlethwaite' mean a clearing full of thistles.   The thistle is a real menace round here and there is no doubt the farmer develops a killer instinct where they are concerned.   I often wonder if it is in his blood going back to antiquity when the name was first coined.

Today is a thistle-slaughtering day.   Thistles and nettles are both important for wildlife and the farmer keeps large patches of both where they can do little harm (other than seed like mad), but in the pastures he tries to keep top side of them.

So here he is today - sharpening his thistle- cutting knife and then cutting thistles and nettles down in the hedgebacks.

   The cattle are very interested to see what he is doing.


shadypinesqltr said...

I particularly dislike "honey, hun or dear" from wait staff. I usually ask them, with a quizzical expression, if we've met before?
Love your photos. Your cows certainly look contented.

thelma said...

Tricky one, on the whole I would say gracefully except any offer of help, then come home and have a rant. Nice sunny day in Yorkshire, miserable and wet down here.

ChrisJ said...

My philosophy is, "Take no offence where none is intended." Covers a multitude of life's prickly moments.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I bet no one came along to ask if they could help with cutting down the thistles. That's the way it seems to be; always people willing to carry a cup of tea but never anyone offering to dig the garden for me or re-paint the living room!

mumasu said...

Both you and them are dammed if you do and damned if you don't. The kid's dad is a hind quarter amputee so has one leg and walks with elbow crutches resulting in this happening quite a lot. I just think at least the person has bothered to care about/think about/even notice another human being, which is a rare thing these days.

Heather said...

I think you have the right approach and I do sympathise. Some 'helpers' are very condescending (usually female) but I always say thankyou to gentlemen offering help or holding a door open for me. They are an endangered species.
Those thistles look vicious. It is a good thing the farmer is so appropriately named.

Attila said...

I promise you I'm not having a go at you; being patronised is awful; maybe that's the problem? I am a wheelchair user who can walk normally for a short while a lot of the time and I get all sorts of tuts, looks and, once, abuse for daring to get out of my chair! When my poor, long-suffering hubby is getting me through tight doorways, struggling manfully, someone kind enough to help is very much appreciated. You might not need help, but we do. Having said that, the patronising so and so's who lean over me like I'm a kid in a pram and call me "dear" etc ( I swear, one day I'm going to get a pinch on the cheek....and they might get a punch if I'm hormonal!) are not welcome. So if they are patronising, feel free to kick them in the ankle for me! If they mean well, when you tell them firmly NO I DONT NEED HELP, please also thank them and remember you might be grateful for the help one day. xx

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Hiya Pat!
Well, generally speaking, I almost always accept any kind of help when it's offered. Even if I don't especially need it, I like to give people the opportunity to be kind. If I don't want the help, I give a big, cheery smile and say something like, "I'm ok, but thank you."
On the other hand, if I offer help and it is declined, I say, "Just checking."

I like ChrisJ's maxim. Have to remember that, 'cuz I can take offense over other things!

I was a bit taken aback when I met my first herd of cows what curious creatures they are. The entire, HUGE herd walked across the field to see check me out.

John Gray said...

I let one go... But more than that, I will usually say something
Especially if the word offered is darling

Virginia said...

I agree the "dear" would get my goat too, but it might be they don't want to be formal and say something like "Ma'am" ... and at least they are present to their environment - unlike those staring at their mobile phones! I used to offer to open those blasted plastic bags in produce departments for elderlies who were struggling, and now, dammit, I'm finding my fingers are drying out and very soon I'll be grateful for someone to offer to open mine! Tempus fugit!

jinxxxygirl said...

Thistles are so pretty even with all their menacing thorns.. but i completely understand the need to keep them under control.

I'd say for the most part they meant well..Sometimes when in that situation one is torn between 'Should i offer to help or not. Will i offend or not?' Its a judgement call really. I think the one that would get under my skin the most would be the 'Dear' one. In restaurants and such around here the waitresses like to use such terms of endearment as Dear, Honey, Sweety..etc.. and they all get on my nerves... sigh...Hugs! deb

angryparsnip said...

Love the photo today. The cows are beautiful.
I am usually helped and quite often by older men with manners. I have to watch stepping over thresholds. My brain says pick up your feet while my feet are going abort abort danger of tripping... But as someone else said said the minute the "dear" comes out I always say Oh no thank you I can manage. I know I am almost in a wheelchair but don't put me there any earlier than I have to go.

cheers, parsnip

Cloudia said...

Ah what can younger people know? No more than we did. Should we argue, we are merely filed into another stereotype: Crotchety. And after all, does it really matter what they think? Let's not discourage kindness. And a note: I often help others just because I see an opportunity. Yes, getting older is challenging!

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

Cro Magnon said...

Big thistles are a sign of good land.

Being quite tall (6ft 1in) I often reach for things on high shelves for shorter folk, but I would never use that word 'dear'.

Arija said...

For the first part Pat, swallow your pride and take the offered assistance or someday, when you really do need it, no-one will bother to offer. Always give people the chance to do 'little acts of random kindness..
For the second part, hats off to the Farmer for tackling those thistles.
At settlement in South Australia, some homesick lady wrote to her sister in Scotland to "please send some thistle seed, as the ones i brought along have not taken". That second lot have been a pain in every farmer's neck over half the country. My daughter grubs them up every year, our neighbours, who have a manager, don't bother . . .

MorningAJ said...

As an incurable user of words like 'mate', 'pal', 'chuck' and 'love', I never intend any offence. And I certainly don't mean offence when I offer to help people.

Anonymous said...

Re offers of help. I think it depends on the spirit in which it is offered. Is it straightforward (good)or patronising and sentimental (bad)?

Trouble is, people who offer help in the latter way don't realise how annoying they are.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Seems like you all feel I should bite the bullet, bne gracious and say thank-you. I shall try to be a bit more tolerant. It is so frustrating getting old.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I walk with two trekking poles - like ski poles but without the spikey thing on the end, because of back surgery and polio when I was 5. It is more freeing than using a walker - your arms can actually move and your posture is better - and there are two takes on this.

One is the people who make comments like - you lost your skis, or you are all ready for winter. I don't find those nearly as amusing as the people who said them do - and I either don't reply - or I might say - if they are smirking - "yeah, like I never heard that one before". They are all rude in my mind - one wouldn't say to a person in a wheel chair "oh, your legs don't work any more" - just rude.

I also HATE it when I enter a room, restaurant, etc, and eyes follow me in horror, disgust, shock - you can see it on their faces. They will follow me right to my seat with their eyes and if I make eye contact they will look away abruptly. Shame on them - I taught me kids to never stare at anyone for any reason.

When offered help with the "dear" attached I often say - no thanks cupcake. I think that makes them take notice that they have been condescending in their offer.

We use the Center for Senior Health and often I find the nurses will explain things to me like I'm a five year old. I realize that some of their patients are in the stage of needing delicate instructions and lots of understanding - but don't assume everyone is in that situation. I had one nurse calling me "dearie" and talking like I was completely stupid - and finally I said to her - I am a published author, working on another book, I build webpages and have been an accountant for 18 years - I'd appreciate instructions that honor my age and accomplishments and not one that presume because this is a Senior Health Clinic I am in dementia and need to be spoken to like a child. Complete silence - and then she did apologize - which I thought was great. Sometimes when we go into the office it seems that we are the youngsters there - still very active and healthy.

I do have to accept help from time to time and I appreciate it when the help is genuinely offered - but despise it when condescending. Usually when I ask for help it is given pleasantly - like carrying packages to my car - or carrying a tray of food even though I wish I could do it myself.

My pet peeve though - is rudeness - to a handicapped person, elderly or just anyone. My friend and went to lunch a while back - me with my trekking poles - she with her cane and as we tried to negotiate the heavy door a group of at least 8 young, healthy people - pushed their way through the door we were struggling with and squeezed past us - guess we were going too slow - and my friend said in her best loud voice - thanks so much for the courtesy and holding the door. Only two turned around and looked at her - and one with a snarl on her face - what a shame that they have such bad upbringing - and also that they have no idea what their life may turn out to be and then they might be the ones being pushed aside when they are struggling.

I've had people bump into me and not apologize - a simple 'scuse me, would be fine. Or sit in a bus seat after I've had a major struggle up those bus steps (why do they have such a high rise?) But I've also had people reach up high to get something off a shelf, or lift something heavy into my basket - sometimes without a word, just a helping hand and a smile - those are the good people.

OK - I'm done. but this is a subject we all need to think more about.

Em Parkinson said...

Rant on dear!

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