Irreverent Mama

Monday, February 18, 2008

Story from another blog:

Woman looks for parking space. Woman does not find one. Woman parks in a tight niche beside a drive, trying hard (but, it emerges, not entirely succeeding) not to block the driveway. Woman returns to car to find this note on her windshield.

"PLEASE DO NOT PARK SO CLOSE TO DRIVEWAY. ITS A WRIGH OF WAY THANK YOU"

Woman sniggers at spelling and grammar, and determines to park IN the drive the following day. I agree, the "wrigh" is sad and silly, and I, too, would snigger at it. The total lack of punctuation is sad. However, spelling and grammar aside, it was a polite note, and -- hold on to your hat, folks! -- Woman was in the wrong, not the note-writer.

In the comments, several people identify it as a "passive aggressive" note. Huh?

"Please do not park so close to the driveway. It's a right of way. Thanks."

Polite, yes. Clear, certainly. Passive aggressive? Would they have preferred "aggressive aggressive" and had the woman come back to a shattered windshield? Since note-writer didn't know how to contact car-owner, what are his/her options, other than leaving polite note? Well, obviously, to be passive, full stop, and not object politely to the other guy's lack of consideration. Because bothering us just because we inconvenience you? That's just ... inconvenient! Object to my behaviour?! You passive aggressive, inconsiderate schmuck!

If Woman does park in the drive, I hope note-writer has her towed. Would serve her self-righteous self right.

Several commenters also suggest she visit passiveaggressive dot (something. com? org? net?) In fact, I've been to passiveaggressive dot whatever a couple of times, and stopped because it was so appalling. Its contributors have no idea what passive aggressive means.

Very few of the items cited there could in any way be construed as anything other than clear, polite communication. The real objection, if these people had the integrity/maturity to acknowledge it, is simply that they have been corrected for some small misdemeanor, and they don't like it.

So, if they don't like it, if the communication annoys them, let's just call the other guy's behaviour "passive aggressive" so we can ignore it and continue doing whatever the hell we like -- and it can be the other guy's fault!!


Great system for people who want to go through life without once saying, "Oops. Sorry!" Too bad there seem to be so damned many of them.

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6 Comments:

  • People just don't get p/a, do they? To me, that sounds like direct, healthy communication!

    By Blogger Alli, at 12:50 PM  

  • I had a conversation with my mother today about people who don't seem to take responsibility for their actions. We were speaking more about raising children and teaching them, but same applies me thinks.

    By Blogger Denguy, at 10:03 PM  

  • Ooo, also we should consider that the note-writer may not have English as their first language.

    By Blogger Denguy, at 10:04 PM  

  • Amen!! I write notes sometimes, so I can get whatever I have to say said clearly, kindly, non-emotionally (with editing!) but I've been told that I'm passive agressive unless I boldly confront whoever it is without any polite words...but if I do that, then I'm just a bitch. Can't win!

    Here in Japan, I love the fact that if you cause an accident, you are required BY LAW to take a day off work (a very big deal here), dress in your best clothes, bring a wrapped gift of a certain value, and make a formal visit to your victim to bow and say "I'm so sorry!" There are good things and not-so-good things about Japan, but I do love the "I'm sorry" visits and the accepting and vocalizing of personal responsibility!

    By Blogger Carolie, at 5:35 AM  

  • Alli - Direct and healthy. Exactly. Since when did "polite" become p/a?

    Denguy - Perhaps this woman received insufficient of such training as a child? And yes, it could very well be that the writer doesn't have English as his/her first language. Which gives us even less room for a sense of superiority, doesn't it?

    Carolie - I LOVE that. That's wonderful. Taking responsibility for your actions in a formal and unavoidable way. Great stuff.

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 8:12 AM  

  • Wow, great post.

    I too have noticed that unfortunate tendency to blame someone who objects to their space being invaded. No matter how respectfully they request to be respected, they're treated as an aggressor.

    It isn't very pleasant, admittedly, to be corrected, but sometimes we all deserve it. At some time or another. I can only hope that someone will be kind to me at least while they're setting me straight.

    There seems to be a tacit belief that if EVERYTHING we do is not absolutely loved and ok, then we are worthless bags of scum. I guess the bargain is that we're not supposed to correct anyone, because that implies they have faults, which implies they're worthless bags of scum, and how DARE we call them worthless bags of scum!!!

    Not very rational.

    By Blogger excavator, at 1:41 AM  

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