Let me tell you something that happened to me the other day, because it is indicative of society falling apart.
The other day we walked up to the town. This in itself is not news, or unusual. However, it was the first time since Laura gave birth that she walked for any distance, because she'd had a c-section and it was the first operation she'd ever had of any kind, so she was a little sore to say the least. But I digress. Let me get to the crux of the matter.
At a certain point I went to the pub with the stroller containing our new daughter Rosie. I can hear the collective gasp - you can take your kids to the pub now in the UK because there is a complete ban on smoking indoors. So don't fret. Rosie was OK, there was no second-hand smoke. And no, I didn't buy her a beer. But I digress. Let me get to the point here, people!
Oh, and don't worry about Laura. She had an appointment at the beauty salon (not that she needs it! God, I'm good) and I was in need of food. It was mid-afternoon and I hadn't eaten much that morning so I was ravenous. She said 'go ahead to the pub, get a bite to eat, and I'll meet you in a few minutes'. But I digress. Or do I? No, I don't, because me getting food is central to my tale of woe.
I ordered a tasty platter of the White Lion's always delicious gammon, egg and chips, which came along in due course. As I was about three bites in, a couple of young women entered the pub. No, this isn't that kind of story. I should back up and tell you that I was seated at a table directly facing the door.
These two women came in. I'd say about mid-to-late-20's, sort of semi-pretty in that Barbour-jacket-jolly-hockey-sticks-ruddy-faced-horsey-set kind of way. As they were making their way to their table one of them looked at me, then at my food, and said "Ooh, that looks good!". Then, as she was hanging her jacket on the back of the chair, turned back to me, leaned forward and extended a hand towards my plate. "You won't miss a couple of those chips!" she said in a cheeky-chummy sort of way. "YES I WILL!" I replied, pulling my plate closer towards myself. Those are my chips, dammit! I paid for them and I will protect them with my life! (They were very good, actually).
WHO DOES THAT!??!?!? Where in the world does one get the cojones to just go up to a complete stranger in a pub and start nicking food off their plate???
OK, I know I probably didn't need the chips. But I didn't know this woman, and she didn't know me. If a friend had done that, I probably would laugh and give them a couple of chips. But what sort of upbringing does one have to have had to think that it is even remotely OK to go up to chubby stranger and steal their dinner out from under their nose? What sort of childhood instilled these kind of values?
Alright, I understand that it is possible that a strange woman may be able to pull this sort of scam on a strange man if (a) the man is single and perhaps drunk and possibly even horny; and (b) the woman is in fact attractive, wearing sexy clothes, and very hungry.
But this is just yet another example of how people just don't know how to act any more. When I was young, I was raised to have these things called good manners. What happened since I was at school? A lot, apparently. Including life-skills workshops in How To Be A Rude Arsehole, evidently.