Archive for the ‘Thinking of Others’ Category

Service of Removing Shoes Indoors for Cleanliness or Health

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

 

Photo: soucybaron.com

Photo: soucybaron.com

I have always removed my shoes when entering my or anyone else’s home or apartment if I’ve just walked in mud, snow, or if my shoes are rain-soaked. Water and muck don’t mix well with wood floors, clean carpets or fine rugs. If I don’t have a pair of dry shoes with me I’ll walk around in socks or tights.

This practice almost broke the back of an otherwise blossoming relationship. It angered my boyfriend and his visiting family members who thought my request that they do the same when they visited me in inclement weather was irritating, irrational and absurd. I’d been told I couldn’t refinish the floors anymore and was therefore facing an exorbitant cost to replace potentially ruined wood and I didn’t want to accelerate the carpet cleaning schedule. So I put my foot down.

It’s far too late to say “aha!” but it turns out that while my reasons were related only to the health of my apartment and its fine rugs—and not to my wellbeing or that of my family—taking off your shoes when indoors is “good hygiene,” according to Ezequiel Minaya. In his Wall Street Journal article, “Is it Healthier to Remove Your Shoes at Home? It’s considered polite in some households, but are there more practical reasons for going shoeless inside?” turns out the answer is YES.

Photo: styleforum.net

Photo: styleforum.net

He wrote: “Shoes are a menagerie of microorganisms, sometimes carrying dangerous bacteria, says Kevin W. Garey, chairman of the department of pharmacy practice and translational research at the University of Houston. Bacteria can be very hardy.”

Unless you’re vulnerable—already ill, very old or young–you probably won’t get sick from the bugs that walk into your home. “But avoiding pathogenic bacteria that can cause illnesses from diarrhea to meningitis is easy, Dr. Garey says. Just take your shoes off. ‘It’s amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs,’ he says.”

Photo: goodhousekeeping.com

Photo: goodhousekeeping.com

Dr. Garey has recently published a study on Clostridium difficile—known as C.diff—that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported caused 29,000 deaths in the US six years ago from almost half a million infections. He found 2,500+ samples in the Houston area alone of which more than 25 percent collected in homes was on the soles of shoes. “And that’s just one bacterium. In an earlier investigation, Dr. Garey examined past studies to learn if ‘shoe soles are a vector for infectious pathogens.’ The answer was a resounding yes,” wrote Minaya.

The reporter added that researchers in other countries found a significant amount of Listeria and E.coli on shoes.

Do you ever take off your shoes when you visit others or when you walk in the door at home? If yes, is it out of tradition—as in Japan or Turkey—or for comfort, cleanliness or health reasons?

Photo: brokenquiet.wordpress.com

Photo: brokenquiet.wordpress.com

Service of Making the Best

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Photo: news.bbc

Photo: news.bbc

Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out,” is credited to three-time All-American basketball player and coach John Wooden. I’ve chosen three examples to illustrate this great quote.

Patrick Donohue

Patrick Donohue

I first heard it at The Christopher Awards last week. If there is one person who took this quote to heart it’s Patrick Donohue who said it in accepting the James Keller Award, named after the organization’s founder. His daughter’s baby nurse shook the infant so violently that she destroyed 60 percent of the rear cortex of the child’s brain. That was 10 years ago. Since then Donohue founded a research initiative as well as the International Academy of Hope—iHope—the first school for kids with brain injuries like Sarah Jane’s and other brain-based disorders. It’s in NYC and he plans to expand to other US cities. 

Father Jonathan Morris, Carol Graham, Major General Mark Graham [retired]

Father Jonathan Morris, Carol Graham, Major General Mark Graham [retired]

Carol Graham and Major General Mark Graham [retired] accepted Yochi Dreazan’s award. Dreazan was honored with a Christopher for his book, “Invisible Front.” The Grahams also illustrate the Wooden quote. The book is about how the Army treated the deaths of their sons. Jeff was hailed a hero after being killed while serving in Iraq and Kevin’s death, by suicide, was met with silence. Today the Grahams work to change the Army’s treatment of soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], to erase the stigma that surrounds those with mental illness and to remind active duty, National Guard, Reserve, veterans and family members that seeking help is a sign of strength. This summer General Graham and associates plan to convert two call centers into one which will be supported with private funding: Vetss4Warriors.com @ 855-838-8255 and Vet2Vet Talk @ 855-838-7481. The keys to their crisis prevention telephone program: Trained peers counsel and advise callers, provide referrals and follow up with them. 

Murray Liebowitz

Murray Liebowitz

Murray Liebowitz is the third example in this post. A stranger to us, we attended his memorial concert at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College last Sunday. A passionate music lover with a special appreciation for Gustav Mahler, Liebowitz paid for the concert–Mahler’s Symphony No. 9–so that it was free to the mourners as well as to the community. He made the arrangements with Bard president Leon Botstein before he died. Tributes in the program described Liebowitz as “modest,” “kind,” “direct,” “generous,” “loyal,” “disarmingly unpretentious,” “delightful,” and “warm.” But he wasn’t always successful. This Bard board member went bankrupt when his first business failed. His New Jersey egg farm thrived until supermarket chains put him out of business. He earned his fortune in his second career as a Florida real estate developer.

Botstein wrote in the program, “Murray Liebowitz was a true gentleman. He was a man who enjoyed enormous success in business but one who never let success in life go to his head. We live in an age where money and wealth appear to be valued above all other achievements. They stand uncontested as the proper measure of excellence. To be rich, it seems, means that one might actually be superior to others. This corrosive calculus is one in which Murray never believed. He was without arrogance.”

Many face personal tragedy, devastating business reversals—and even overwhelming success—and make the best of the way things work out. Can you share additional examples?

making the best of bad situation 1

Service of Thinking of Others

Monday, July 11th, 2011

bouquet-of-flowers

I’ve covered manners from all sides in at least a dozen posts. Awareness of others, in some cultures, is all you need to get along. What’s great about it is that it’s not complicated or hard to do and takes little time to learn.

Here are a few recent examples of a few who need remediation to grasp the concept of thinking of others:

Need of a Change…But Where? 

baby-diaperIn his Social Q’s column in The New York Times, Philip Galanes selected a letter from a California reader who complained about parents who changed their baby’s diapers on dining surfaces: A communal table and an airline food tray. The solution was convenient for the parents but did they for one second think of the yech-factor for their neighbors some of whom were trapped in seats on the plane?

Water, Water Everywhere But…

glass-of-waterWe were riveted by Adam Hochschild on Book TV over the 4th of July weekend. The “Mother Jones” founder was discussing his book, “To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918.”

Unusual for Book TV, he accompanied his talk with photos and concluded with a compelling slide show of gravesites in France. At one point, his voice got rough and began to skip and I asked my husband, “Why doesn’t someone bring him some water?”  My husband noted, “Why isn’t water already up there?”

Hochschild soldiered on and when his voice gave out a third time, he asked for some water and eventually it came. Preparing for a speaker is more than sending out the invitations, ordering coffee and cookies and microphones. It involves common sense. Empathy and observation would help. Hochschild shouldn’t have had to ask.

You’re Here? So What?

sorry-were-openWe had lunch at an upstate restaurant we’ve been to quite frequently. We have spoken with the owner numerous times over the years. He wasn’t around when we arrived but soon stood at the hostess’s lectern pounding away at a computer and then he paced the floor a few times.

He never said a word to any of the guests, didn’t smile at us, say “hello” or look at our tables to check liquid levels in water or wine glasses. My husband said “Everyone has their bad day, maybe the chef or evening wait crew cancelled.”

Maybe, but I don’t think the owner of a restaurant can let his mood or stress affect his tableside manner. He isn’t thinking of its affect on guests who like to be made to feel welcome and who have so many other choices. Was he worried about the relatively new, successful Barbeque place across the street? His attitude is sending customers over there for sure.

His manner has already rubbed off on the hostess. She didn’t walk us to our table, waved us in the direction of a few of the options, was blasé in her greeting and enthusiastic only about getting to her mobile phone for a chat.

Do you have examples of people who haven’t–or have–thought of others? Do you agree that such a mindset is the key to success of much of what we do? Is it too much of a chore for most and not worth the trouble?

 nomilk

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