Is Ignorance Bliss?

Can any of us live in the world these days without experiencing a moment when you just want to lash out? Maybe you’re stuck in big city traffic, or growing old in telephone queue purgatory. Or maybe, like Bitty and me, you are simply trying to get to your seats in a crowded theatre filled with catatonic zombies.

Recently, when we finally got around the many meandering souls that make up a Saturday matinee audience at the Mark Taper, Bitty said, with dripping sarcasm, what I was actually thinking: “Just stand in the middle of the aisle, why don’t ya?” Another theatre goer (a typical Los Angeles peace and love granola girl) looked at Bitty and said, “Jeez, Hostile.” “Yes,” I said as Granola walked away, “hostile, but aware.”

Now a note, before you go and think that Bitty and I are nothing but heartless wenches: we are both hyper-aware of our surroundings and the people in them. Bitty is a social worker who helps people all day long, 24/7. I don’t have such career credentials, but I was raised in 1960s West Texas with manners and a conduct I wish were more prevalent today.

And maybe that is why we are annoyed when people, not just a few but the masses, are so consistently unaware. How many folks (yes, these days especially) actually take their heads out of their cell phones/iPods/asses to be present and aware of what’s going on around them?

You know that old saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? Yes, it is. For the ignorant. For those of us who are aware, your ignorance makes us hostile. So when we blow off that steam, forgive us; the rest of the time we’re watching out for you.

9 thoughts on “Is Ignorance Bliss?

  1. My friend and I were talking about the same thing this weekend. What happened to being conscious of what is around you? It was such a beautiful day, the first after two weeks of grey sky and rain. I saw a young woman crossing the street, her head was down as she was texting. I yelled out the window, nicely ~ look up sweetie, look up at the sky! She kept right on texting as I kept saying it until she was down the block. Don’t get me started as to what I will say in the grocery store ~ sometimes hostile and sometimes from a place of bewilderment and frustration and yes, wanting people to learn to be gracious and conscious. I’m hopeful (today anyway).

  2. The manners cat is funny and I might steal em’ and make a few changes and I couldn’t say “amen” louder! I know my generation tends to be constantly on their phones, but it seems to be a growing epidemic! Before we know it, we’ll go weeks without speaking to another soul and only text them every now and then…ha :/

  3. I have to totally agree with you, although now I’m in a rural community I find it much better than in the city. I have a story to share and don’t want to offend any cultural group, so I will simply say that before I retired I worked at a large university with many exchange students. Every day, walking up to my building I would encounter a group of exchange students (maybe 10 or 12) all clustered together in a tight-knit group (a herd comes to mind) walking on the same sidewalk but coming the opposite way. Being raised in the mid 1900s (good grief! what a thought!) when politeness ruled, I naturally sidestepped off the sidewalk so they could pass. Then one day I got thinking, I’m almost a senior, why am I the one who has to move and what would happen if I didn’t? So for the next few days I stayed on the sidewalk. Sure enough, they walked right into me! Then I tried not just staying on the sidewalk, but stopping and standing right in the middle when I saw them coming (these students not just walk in a group, it’s as though they are all fastened together). Wham, right into me.! They were so shocked that there was someone there they actually started spilling around me like a river around a boulder! I gave up. I don’t even know if any had cellphones, but I’m sure they all did, they just weren’t using them at the time, but I could tell you some great stories about one of my colleagues and people (usually immigrants from same country) who ignore you while they are on cellphones.

  4. Don’t get me started on how many of my customers rudely stay on their phones while I’m scanning and packing their groceries, even when I’m finished and trying to get their attention to pay cash or process their credit cards. At one customer I loudly said “excuse me” when others in the line were getting impatient and she replied “How rude, I’m on the phone here”.

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