This is just a personal observation-comon courtesy is no longer common. I’ve traveled and lived in the Northeast, South, and the West–among other cities that I visited. Is being “rude and crude” the popular means of interacting these days? It seems that common courtesy is declining even in the Southern states. Based on my personal experience, Georgia still gets a star for manners. I was once in Augusta (the place of the Golf Master’s Tournament) and I was taken aback by the considerate behavior. I encountered young children who addressed the adults as “Yes, Sir” and “Yes, Ma’am”, highway drivers giving ways, store clerks greeting you with a smile, gentlemen opening doors, and many other instances where I experienced a transformation to politeness.
It’s a different story when I cross throught Atlanta then to Florida. I have yet to experience Atlanta during the day. The night scene is not as friendly. Once in FL, my observation was that Jacksonville is friendlier than Miami (both cities have the typical suburban setup, warm weather throughout, and next to the beaches and Atlantic Ocean). Homelessness and high crime are prevalent especially in Orlando. Blame it on humidity or circumstances, the sunshine state is not as smiley as I think it was. Even DisneyWorld (dubbed as the happiest place on earth) can’t mask the decaying city of Orlando. The streets and public places can be oppressive.
What can I say about Maryland and DC area? It depends on what part of town you randomly visit. DC has an aggressive driving index (maybe because of the crazy cabs or the roads themselves–so many one way streets). There is though an atmosphere of indifference and maybe the elements of politics contribute to the daily social transaction-curt civility is in the air.
I can dedicate a lengthy article about California. Mainstream media rules Hollywood. Non-compliance of the law is glamorized. The next generation of superficiality is mutating. Age, upbringing, or intellectual level–are these still relevant factors? In certain areas, courtesy is extinct. Although, the bay area such as San Francisco, has a more artistic, liberal, educated, and passionate vibe. It’s not as laid back as is it seems to be. These days, people are so pre-occupied in the daily rat race and the sense of community is lacking.
I don’t think it’s fair to attribute attitude to North, South, West or by regions, but there is some sorts of a shift towards less friendly moods or “I can’t care less” mentality. Is it simply Narcissism, or just a thing in the past? Is it a difference between being a Conservative or Liberal? Is it materialism or having a faith of some sort? Is it a matter of affluence or poverty? Is it based on education level? Or maybe we can blame it on technology, economy, and the stressors of our modern lives. Is there a better excuse for rudeness?
Times change. Attitudes change. We definitely move in a faster pace. Each place has its unique atmosphere-just impossible to generalize. Most cities have much to offer and we just have to learn to circumvent the bad.