Casual Vex

I’ve had a few experiences of late which point to the perils of our increasingly casual society. What started with a trend toward less formality in clothing choices has crept into many other aspects of life and I daresay that we’re due for a correction in this regard.

For example, you don’t have to travel much to see that slovenliness is the new norm. Not to long ago air travel was seen as a glamorous, romantic event where people dressed up just for the adventure (aside from the destination), and getting there was as much of an event as being there. Nowadays we seem to have become spoiled, irritated at the slightest delay and occasionally unglued because of a malfunctioning personal movie screen. Just to add injury to insult I imagine most people traveling nowadays look as if they had to dig into their dirty laundry or their gym locker to get from point A to point B in the airplane.

Another symptom of the trend toward casual can be found in the matter of attitudes people hold toward their employer, though I must admit to having had a very pleasant surprise in this regard when a young employee of mine submitted her notice the other day. She wrote an excellent and respectful letter outlining her decision and gave as much notice as she could, which in this case was close to three weeks. Believe it or not, this seems to be the exception nowadays and not the rule.

I know I run the risk of sounding like a cranky fuddy-duddy to bring this up (and yes, I am too old to die young), but overly casual attitudes and approaches to living can be vexing, as much for their disregard of the aesthetics of life as for their underlying disrespect of decency. I don’t believe in going back to former ways or to looking back to greener pastures because vain regrets about the past are ultimately meaningless, but I do hope for a world in which those present always go out of their way to give evidence of the beauty of truth in their living.

5 thoughts on “Casual Vex

  1. Coco

    This is an interesting subject. I believe finding the balance begins with the attitudes that always precipitate appropriate action and good taste, appreciation and thankfulness. When I let particularly those two spirits govern my forming thoughts I can usually get in the range where I feel I’ve met the mark. The other consideration is being taught how to execute it. I’ll guess the note you received from the employee is not an exception to their behavior. Good breeding usually starts in the home, as a child. I find too that entitlement breeds a lot of irritation and again appreciation can stem that loss of control. I don’t believe it’s always a socioeconomic symptom but more the habit of effort.

  2. David R

    I noticed watching a clip of a hockey game from the early sixties that the men were all wearing hats and suits! The fights on the ice weren’t too different, however…

    I suppose we could say that formality is no guarantee of gentility. Still, we do speak with our attire, broadcasting to the world. I wonder if there is typically much thought about that, or do we just slip into the modes of the time? Great points to consider, Gregg.

  3. Zach

    I think that we have lost a great deal of our sensitivity to how other people are affected by our actions. Maybe it is the myopic view we get glued to our “smart” devices, but I think we lost our way before that. We live in a self-centered world, and that is evidenced in the majority of the interactions that happen day to day, but it does not mean that we personally have to let our standards down. It is easier than ever to stand out by having exemplary character, and don’t think for a second that people do not notice.

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