Daily Prompt: The disadvantage of finding rudeness a challenge

Daily Prompt
Unexpected guests
You walk into your home to find a couple you don’t know sitting in your living room, eating a slice of cake. Tell us what happens next

One of the major downsides of being brought up to be polite, open-minded and considerate is that it makes it very hard to be flat-out rude and knee-jerk confrontational – which is probably why politeness etc are out of favour in modern society: none of them is spelt M.E. (I was having this discussion with my d-in-l only the other day: do my gorgeous, sweet-natured granddaughters need to be inculcated with a bit of mongrel to survive?)

Anyway, being at my age irredeemably well-mannered, at the sight of a couple ensconced on my lounge with cake (and possibly daytime TV), I’d probably be struck dumb. In fact I know I’d be struck dumb, and here’s how I know.

Once upon a time long ago, we lived in a rather splendid house that came with my father’s job, so when he retired (we kids were all living elsewhere by then, but it was still ‘home’), we were out and his successor was in. Fair enough. We were due to leave by the New Year.

On Christmas Day that year, my mother had a stroke. The ambulance came, my father went with her in the ambulance and one of my sisters drove behind them to bring my dad home again later, leaving my other sister and I standing there (understandably lost and forlorn) as the cavalcade disappeared down the long and winding drive. But before we’d had time to gather ourselves and go back inside, a car drove up and out popped my father’s successor, beaming brightly as he bustled across to introduce himself, his teenage son and his son’s friends.

We’re just on our way to Gold Coast, he said, so I thought I’d call in and show the boys where we’ll be living. (It’s Christmas Day, remember.)

Oh, we said. Terribly sorry, our mum just had a stroke and Dad’s gone with her to the hospital.

Oh really? he said. Yes, we passed the ambulance in the drive and wondered what was going on. But if I could just show the boys around…

And he did. And my sister and I (I was 23, she was 28) served coffee and Christmas cake and chat as if this were a normal day, we were delighted to see them and hadn’t a care in the world.

So I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t call the police for the couple in the living room. At least they brought their own cake.


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16 Responses to Daily Prompt: The disadvantage of finding rudeness a challenge

  1. lifelessons says:

    Unbelievable, their lack of sensitivity!!! How did your mother fare?

  2. Really? They thought it acceptable to call in on Christmas Day?? Even leaving aside the rest of the situation I find that appallingly inconsiderate. It never ceases to amaze me how stunted are some people’s thought processes.

  3. You sure they brought they own cake? Maybe it was yours and you didn’t realize it?

    Being polite is a habit, though I think it’s a better habit to have than rudeness. Call ME old-fashioned, but I think a lot of what is wrong with the world could be solved by a big dollop of civility.

  4. lifelessons says:

    So sorry that your mother’s ending was not as shiny as your intruder’s was. I applaud you for your calm handling of the matter. I probably would have handled it the same way. As a matter of fact I had a similar thing happen when my husband was dying. The phone was ringing off the hook with friends calling to check on Bob’s condition, which was sweet but had me tearing my hair because I was the only one he wanted in the house and my energy was quickly waning. One night the phone rang rather late. I answered and a man asked to talk to my husband. I explained that Bob was in the last stages of pancreatic cancer and that we didn’t expect him to live long, and the man said, “Oh, does that mean you’ll be selling his tools?”

    • Gobsmacking! It’s something you look back on with a sort of wonder, isn’t it. After my husband died, Actors’ Equity sent him a terse reminder that his annual fees were due, never mind that half Equity had been at his funeral.

      • lifelessons says:

        A week or so after his death, Social Security sent me a curt notice that since my husband had died before the end of the month that I’d have to refund his social security payment for that month or they would be bringing charges against me! This was after I had sat for hours on the phone for two days to try to talk to someone at Social Security to inform them of his death and to try to get death benefits paid to his son!

  5. Wow. Talk about cold-blooded and unimaginative shits…

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