Get your damn feet off the table you hillbilly!

I believe coffee shops are the adult version of the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese. A disgusting Petrie dish.

So this just happened. I’m in a coffee shop in a trendy hipster part of Atlanta today.

I’m sitting on a couch. In front of me is a coffee table where I’d sat my laptop, drink, and plate. (Orange cranberry scone in case you’re keeping track at home) Sitting next to me on the couch is an attractive 30 something blonde woman in jeans and a T-shirt.  

She removes her flip-flops and curls up, tucking her dry, cracked feet underneath her; the soles of her feet, black with dirt only inches from me. As she looks intently at her phone, she begins picking her toenails and playing with her feet. 

I grew nauseous. 

I know there is some subset of pervs and kinksters who like feet… (not my bag, but you do you), however, I think it’s safe to say, NOBODY, WANTS TO DEAL WITH YOUR DIRTY BARE FEET in public. That goes double for a place where food or drinks are served.

She then stretches her legs out in front of her and places her disgusting bare feet on the table within inches of my laptop, cup, and plate.

This is not some homeless person or a mindless teenager. This is a grown ass woman.

My first instinct was to yell, "Look here ya urban hillbilly. WTF? How were you raised? Get your dirty damn feet off the table, go back home and frolic barefoot as you tend to your inner city chicken coop."

But alas I did not... but don’t think I was quiet. 

Not possessing a poker face of any kind, the look of absolute disgust was apparent, as I said, “Excuse me."

She shot me a sleepy, almost dumbfounded look. “Huh"

“Would you mind moving your feet?” 

Her look then became more quizzical with a tinge of “who are you a-hole?”

I then sternly said, "People eat and drink on this table. You’re in public. Don’t put your dirty BARE feet on the table... it's gross.”

She sheepishly pulled them back underneath her and resumed picking her toenails. She left five minutes later. 

Tell me if I’m the a-hole. Actually, DON’T, because I don’t care. I don’t feel bad and I’d totally do this again. In fact, I wish more people would do something similar.

We are in a world now where people are entirely too comfortable, entitled and take no pride in or respect for themselves, their surroundings or other people. Who raised these people?  Where did the wheels fly off? 

Having manners, respect, pride and doing the right thing in a public has NOTHING to do with money, education, race, politics, religion, or where you grew up. It also has nothing to do with stifling freedom and individuality.

People used to dress up to travel on airplanes, leave the house, take a meeting. You were respectful of other people and public places. I’m not saying you have to wear white gloves to a football game or return to looking like the cast of Mad Men at the office (although THAT would be kinda cool)… but for God’s sake don’t put your dirty bare feet on the furniture, especially in a restaurant. Be aware of your surroundings and respect.

We live in such a “triggered” society now, people are afraid to say something unless it’s online. That’s the problem. We are quick to call out insensitive or offensive behavior or comments online, where anonymity emboldens people, but we are afraid to call out someone to their face for being rude. Not everything has to be a social injustice for you to speak up. Sometimes you can speak up for manners and civility.  

I grew up in West Texas in a time not long ago where if you were being a shit in public or simply rude, someone other than your parents would call you out. It was the community that created a great and respectful community. We need more of that. 

Glad I spoke up. I’d do it again. 

I’m going to look for some Purel and a Clorox wipe. I’ll be back. 

B

Bradley Richardson

www.bradleyrichardson.com

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