Paulette Delcourt: If Love Is Cooking The Meal, Respect Is Cleaning It Up

I thought years of child-rearing, cooking and cleaning meant I could catch a break—even from strangers. Nope, not a chance.

Aretha Franklin brought notoriety to respect. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” she sang, and a nation listened.

On Sunday, Dr. Kevin Leman was on TV promoting his latest book about respect, "Have A New Kid By Friday", but I fear that unlike Aretha, he's a few decades too late.

Are my kids driving me crazy? Yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about some patently disrespectful adults. For me, it’s a generational thing.

I grew up in a large Greek family where we were taught to respect our elders and their authority. They survived wars, childbirth and bra burnings. They patiently taught us how to do the right things, and how to right the wrong things.

The elders were also great cooks, and at family gatherings, the kids were tasked with the very tedious dish duty.

I thought middle-age would grant me the same chance to enjoy an after dinner coffee and Pall Mall without interruption (in 1976 that visual worked). That day has not come—and a new generation is emerging from a chrysalis of self-absorption.

I attended a wedding with a friend. As we exited the ladies’ room, a guest from another party walked in with the bottom of her tight skirt hiked up to snood length. In her struggle to tug the imagination back into her skirt, she knocked over her cheap, plastic tumbler cocktail so hard it went airborne—and yes, missed the sink.

Without a nanosecond of pause for regret, she left two puzzled witnesses; and an icy mass of liquid Teflon, behind her.

My friend in her black cocktail dress, and me in silver crackle pumps—cleaned up every last drop of her mess so no one would be harmed by her carelessness. The only injury was the one I sustained trying to get off the floor in silver-crackle pumps.

I recently attended a shower. The hostess opened her home to friends and family, many of whom she did not know—and offered each guest the generous gift of a home cooked meal and a curly ribbon wrapped party favor. She was thanked with rooms full of orphaned, frosting-smeared plates; and scrunched, crumb-choked napkins.

My kid’s teacher agreed to implement a plan I designed to help keep my fifth grader organized at school. She didn’t follow through, nor did she bother to tell me. When I asked her about it, she told me I should have checked with my son first because he would know what he wants. (I'll remind the school board to give my son his raise.)

Well, I know what I want.  

K-A-R-M-A, find out what it means to me… sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me... but no later than Friday.

Paulette Delcourt June 08, 2012 at 04:10 AM
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