Pet Peeve of the Week

Subject: Bad Manners

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a Pet Peeve of the Week, but don’t fret – it’s not because I haven’t been annoyed. It’s because I often sit patiently on a topic, slowly collecting material to give you my (unfortunately) first hand experiences. And so, over the course of the last month, this week’s Pet Peeve is born, while manners have obviously suffered a slow death.

1. Moving to Avoid People on the Sidewalk/Intersection:

I began to notice this trend more aggressively once Ottawa was graced with snow throughout the past month. As the sidewalks and intersections become more narrow thanks to icy snow banks, I came to realize that for some reason, I am ALWAYS the person who pauses, moves to the side, or clambers over said icy snow banks to allow others to cross. Seriously, I am ALWAYS the person who shuffles dutifully out of the way while men and women push past me without moving a millimetre. And while you may think that this is because I actually HAVE manners, I can tell you that in some situations, it’s NOT. I have literally had to become ‘Frogger’ à la George Costanza when crossing the busy intersection outside the Rideau Centre in an attempt to merely stay upright. I actually believe that some of these people wouldn’t even notice if I was body-checked to the ground. The worst part is, this behaviour has tempted to stop accommodating these sidewalk hogs and shoulder-check them next time I’m in a face-off. My politeness can only go so far people and I’m being pushed to the brink!

Defeated: How I feel when I’m trampled on the sidewalk.

Please and Thank You:

NON-NEGOTIABLE. Stop acting like you own the world and don’t need to show gratitude or appreciation. Chances are, you’re nowhere NEAR famous or fabulous enough to pull off that diva-behaviour.

Manners & Cats. My two favourite things, colliding.

Holding Doors Open:

A lot of the time, holding doors open is associated with male chivalry. Ummmm, P.S. We are currently living in 2012, not 1950. Yes, it’s nice when men hold doors open for women, but it’s also nice when everyone holds doors open for everyone, regardless of gender. People are genuinely SHOCKED when I wait for 3 seconds to hold the door open for the person trailing slightly behind me. Isn’t that sad!? Are we literally that hard up for time that we can’t pause the split second to make sure that the door behind us isn’t slamming in another human being’s face?

Nana’s proud of you.

Respecting Your Elders:

I recently saw a 56 year old man (I know his age, because he announced it in fury) get up to offer his seat to an elderly woman on the bus, while approximately 10 teenagers/20-somethings sat comfortably in priority seating.* To me, this is inexcusable. If you know me well, you know that my grandparents are two of my favourite people on the planet. And if I saw my Nana struggling with a parcel, standing on the bus, I would literally inflict physical harm on the young people sitting down. I don’t care how important your latest text/bbm is or that you’re wrapped up in a really great game of Angry Birds. Get off your entitled teenage/20-something year old ass and offer up your seat to Nana…or else.

*Before anyone asks: I was standing on this bus trip and had no seat to offer.


I’m tired of nasty people getting away with bad manners and bad behaviour. We’re all in this world together, so we all need to take responsibility for our actions and act courteously towards each other. Imagine a world where a door never slams aggressively in your face. A world where two people smile and move gently out of each other’s ways. A world where Nana can always sit comfortably. It’s simple really: basic human decency. That’s really all I’m after…in a nutshell.


  1. Darla Brown says:

    Way to go Meghan…’s just the right thing to do! p.s. there’s a lot of other “age groups”, not just teenagers and 20 somethings that could learn a lesson from you! xo Mom

  2. Sherralee Huot says:

    Well stated Meghan!! :)

  3. Kevin Kitts says:

    OK, Reese……….a well-written piece.
    I am confident that all of us at one time or another have experienced or witnessed the ill-mannered actions outlined in your article.
    However, I must take issue with your portrayal of NANA’s as being the prime prey of the ill-mannered.
    There is no doubt that NANA’s do at times suffer the slings and arrows of those who should know better.
    But these noble creatures should not be portrayed as weak and reliant on others as I fear that your article implies.
    The NANA’s that I have come into contact with have been able to take care of themselves under any conditions, even extremely adverse ones.
    The old saying ‘Beware of the NANA’ is not to be taken lightly.
    One just has to look at the picture of the door being held open by a cute grand-daughter for her beloved Nana (and we all commend such a dutiful grand-daughter for taking such good care of her Nana) to know that if that same door had been carelessly closed by some boorish individual in Nana’s face that Nana would have strong-armed that door open and successfully made her exit without any problem whatsoever.
    Turning to your own much-loved Nana, we both know, Reese, that in the event she was on an OC
    Transpo bus with her arms full of packages of gifts for you and she needed a seat……….and some semi-somnolent, angry-Birds playing twenty-something guy didn’t notice her plight……….well, she would soon have her seat.
    Consequently, I do think that we should give NANA’S their due as self-reliant, powerful personages who can take on the ill-mannered of our world and always come up winners.
    Keep up the good work, Reese.
    ……….in a nutshell.
    P.S. Have you and the other members of the ‘in a nutshell’ board ever considered doing a ‘George-like’ Frogger episode on Bank Street (it would be a great publicity stunt for ‘in a nutshell’……….especially if you were all arrested).
    Reese, I think that you would make an excellent ‘George’……………..and I am not saying that just because you are a blonde!

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