Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mommy, what's courtesy mean?

The golden rule: treat people as you would have them treat you. Common courtesy: a more modern way of saying the same thing. We seem to have lost sight of the simple concept of treating one another with even the tiniest morsel of respect. Remember when you would run in to the grocery store for milk and bread, and upon reaching the checkout line, the kind lady ahead of you would invite you in front of her as she had an entire cart full? Or getting to a stop sign at the same time as another car and having them wave you through for no other reason than it was the polite thing to do? We said please and thank you and goodbye upon ending phone conversations. Somewhere along the line we seem to have lost our ability to execute random acts of kindness, and with it our sense of courtesy has vanished as well.

Last Sunday, I stopped at Costco to get gas and typical of any weekend, it was packed. There were 3 cars ahead of me in line; the first two were at the pumps, a third waited ahead of me. The car ahead of him finished and was able to pull around the first car. The car ahead of me pulled forward, and just as he put his car in park, the first car pulled away. Imagine my shock when the car ahead of me failed to pull to the forward pump and allow me to pull in behind him. I watched dumbfounded as this idiot got out of his car and removed his gas cap. I rolled down my window and with a smile on my face, asked him if he would mind pulling forward. He looked at me and said “no”. Naturally I handled his belligerence with my usual tactfulness and grace. I responded sweetly with, “and why the hell not?” He replied, “You can go around!” I then asked him “how am I supposed to squeeze my full size truck between your car and the cars next to us?” He ignored me. At this point I noticed the attendant standing there witnessing this exchange. I threw my hands in the air as if to say, “Do something!” The little weasel walked away! I nearly yelled “(insert synonym for cat here)!” but remembered my 11 year old in the seat next to me. “I have bigger testicles than HE does!” I muttered. So I squeezed my truck as close to that man’s brand new Infiniti as I possibly could and pulled in front of him. My first instinct was to block him in. Full size truck, lots of cars, not a problem! Instead I took the high road and stood there while fueling, staring the jerk down, daring him to say something further. I got back in the truck and my son informed me that he was watching that man and he saw him point at me and say the “b-word”. I just smiled and explained to him that since the man didn’t have the guts to say it directly to me that it wasn’t worth worrying about. Logan said, “What a jerk, mom”. “Yes,” I agreed, “but some people are just too miserable to be nice to anyone else.”

Today’s witty quip, well really more of a question: Is common courtesy not only dead, but buried six feet under and decomposing?


Lynn said...

I agree with you and I am shocked every day when I run in to "those kind of poeple" every day. All we can do it teach our own children what NOT to do.
Love this keep it up woman!!

Anonymous said...

I praise you for your self control. You handled it much better than I would have myself. Even if I had been able to keep my mouth shut which would have been very unlikely, the dirty look on my face or an uncontrolable body language would have given me away. Thoughts of my mother's voice spring to mind 'if you do not have anything nice to say then do not say anything at all' which in my life is more often easier said than done!
Love ya! Jude