Recently, walking in my neighborhood on New York's West Side, I (Yvette) saw and heard something very disturbing. A couple on a busy street was having a full-blown argument as if they were in the privacy of their home. Their relationship's dirty laundry was flapping in the face of everyone passing by. This is not what we call good community relations.
Yvonne can tell you about this. "I knew I was wrong," Yvonne admitted about an argument she had outdoors. She thought she was out of earshot. Instead, just like the 24-hour news cycle, bits and pieces of the argument were overheard and reported inaccurately.
In our 'gotta have it now' culture, Yvonne had to have her say right then and there. "It was a dumb situation that got dumber," Yvonne explained.
We wonder if there's a surge of public displays of dissatisfaction because we're used to holding conversations on our cell phones as we walk down the street. In one block you can hear dozens of snippets of conversations from the inane to profane. So, maybe it feels kind of natural to say what you have to say sans cell phone.
If you come across strangers in a heated argument, mind your business. If the argument escalates into violence, call 911 on your trusted cell phone. Don't hesitate; when people go public with their business, it becomes public business.
Adults yell at their children out in the open all the time forgetting what they've taught them about inside and outside voices. A woman was cursing out her three year old in a crowded station because he'd put his little hand in her pocket and she wanted to know why. "Because he loves you," Yvonne yelled out loud.
The woman, shocked, proceeded to curse out Yvonne. Not wanting to end up on the evening news, Yvonne moved away from the woman. Yvonne says, "She was verbally abusing the child and I just couldn't stand there and say nothing."
Remember, when it comes to parents and children, be careful how you get involved. How parents choose to reprimand their children is not for you to judge or critique. However, once it becomes physical, call for help or intervene as peacefully as you can.
The next time you find yourself close to arguing in public, ask yourself, "Do I really want to have a People magazine moment at my ugliest?"