Thursday, July 19, 2012

Common Courtesy

    Sometimes I feel like I've become rather cynical in my years, much to my own dismay. It's not that I try to be mean or rude, sometimes it just feels pointless to return a courtesy to a world that seems only to take and never give a courtesy back. So I gathered a short list on the common courtesies I love to see, even if they don't directly affect me. 

1. Drivers who block line cutters in traffic. It almost brings a tear to my eye to see people try to block others who are trying to cut in line during rush hour. Being that person who rides in the shoulder until you can't anymore so you can cut in front of fifty people and then get mad when no one lets you in ...yeah not cool. So when there is a merge lane, usually the on ramp and the slow lane, and there is barely any room to merge (living in D.C. means space is a premium everywhere), a car that moves over usually signifies that they're holding their place in line and they don't appreciate you cutting in front. Should be common knowledge, right? I guess it's not really a COMMON courtesy, because usually it's such a prevalent issue, that to see people standing up to line cutters brings warm fuzzies to my heart. :)
2. People who put the item divider in place at the grocery store. Is that weird? I actually appreciate when people put that little plastic divider on the grocery belt. Perhaps it's because I feel like it's an acknowledgement or maybe a way to say hello. 
3. Holding the door for elderly people.  Well, I guess if it's an automatic door like most places, the door usually does the courtesy, but I love to see people actually holding a door open, even if they're a few paces ahead, such as on the elevator. I've heard that Americans are the least respectful to their elderly. At least for the people I've seen, it looks like we may have a chance in proving it's not all Americans. 
4. Give a penny, take a penny.  I love getting even change back. It's not the fact that I love to look like a big roller with my fives I have in my purse, but getting rid of change makes me feel productive. Do I generally have a few pennies and nickels in my purse or car? Sure. Sometimes, I'm short a penny. This is where the give a penny, take a penny thing comes in. You know that little cup or jar by the cash register? It actually can make or break someone's day if they're short a few cents. What happens if that jar is empty? Working in retail, I've seen it happen. Money is money down to the penny and if a kid is short 5 cents on that candy bar he's dying to have, how awesome is it to see someone behind him in line hand over that 5 cents with no expectation of seeing that nickel again. Small change? Well, not to the kid anyways. 
5. Highway besties.  Have you ever taken a road trip and had to drive like 200 miles on the same stretch of road? During said road trip, have you ever had what I affectionately call a highway bestie? Those are the one or two cars who trail along with you during the trip, usually because they're heading somewhere in the same direction as you. It's a kinship you develop after driving with them for mere hours. You switch lanes to let them pass because you're going a little slower and then maybe they let you into the lane during bottleneck traffic. Where they come from, who they are, what they drive, how much money they have, what language they speak means nothing. It's purely a human connection. As they move on toward their exit, they wave. I feel like it's a unique friendship between two strangers who never need to speak a word. The courtesy? The wave. Definitely the wave. 

Food for thought.