Has anyone seen Courtesy? Has she finally left us for good?

Driving home from work today I was cut off by someone that waited till the last minute to get off at the exit they needed. He cut me off and the person next to me to get two lanes over onto an exit that is marked for at least a mile (and has been there forever, or at least his forever). Because he almost hit me and I had to slam on my breaks, I also hit my horn hoping he might wake up and realize there were people around him. Instead he slowed down after cutting off the person next to me to give me the finger.

I already knew your IQ buddy, but thanks for the verification.

I should be used to drivers like that, I grew up in NY. I drive through many states every year to go home to visit and Ohio is by far the worst. People in NY often would just as soon run you over as even notice you, and Ohio doesn’t even bother to think about it. Georgia drivers can often rival Ohio, and living on the border of said state I can tell you it’s often easy to tell where someone is from without even looking at the license plate.

Someone should go find Courtesy, she’s sorely missed. At least by some of us.

One of the things I’ve loved about Tennessee are the people, and that has also extended to their driving habits. I’ve seen more people let people out in traffic, wave someone through a stop sign, and generally just smile and be considerate of each other in the last 7 years than I’d seen in my ENTIRE LIFE in NY. Or Houston. It’s been wonderful and I’ve adopted the habits. Is it so very important for me to get to Walmart to buy vacuum bags that I can’t let someone come out of a parking lot when I’m already stopped or am about to stop? Am I in such a hurry to get home an extra minute or two early that I can’t stay stopped for another 30 seconds to let other people go ahead of me? Why are we rushing all over the place to often then just wait in line or sit around doing nothing?

The sad part for me is it’s starting to happen down here, too. People are getting rushed and, thus, rude. And it’s sad. Just so very sad.

I’ve been spoiled by it. When we go to NY to visit, one of my favorite things is to be courteous to people on the road. Yes, part of it is because it tends to freak them out (heh, I’ve got a mischievous side, of course), but also because there’s a part of me hoping it’ll make their day. Maybe they’ve been treated like crap all day by customers and they’re on their way home… and you just let them get out of the parking lot when they didn’t see a chance of it happening… and they smiled. Might have been the first real smile of the day. Might be their ONLY real smile of the day.

It’s a nice thought, isn’t it?

I’ve seen and heard family and friends in NY while they’re driving complaining about the drivers, and saying ‘No, I’m not gonna let you in, don’t even bother’. Is the person they’re shunning the one giving them grief? Likely not, no. It’s a side effect of being annoyed by others. But why? Because it’s easier to just be angry. It’s easier to just push ahead and not let anyone out ahead of you, even though you’re sitting still and aren’t going anywhere.

I’ve been guilty of it too, especially on the highway when the lanes go from 3 to 2. People who run along the side to get in ahead of people who’ve been waiting there. And yes, I understand it. Those people are being actively rude, they are often trying to cut ahead. Some of them are just clueless and don’t realize the lane is closing, granted, but some… just rude.

But they’re not the same as people sitting in a parking lot or side road waiting to turn. Those people are just there, just like you’ve been there waiting and complaining about how no one will let you out. Aren’t you then that person to be complained about?

I’m always surprised that otherwise very considerate and friendly people get so nasty in the car and won’t give even an inch. They would often times give the shirt off their back to a person in need, but they hurry up to close the gap when they’re driving so no one gets ahead of them.

Are we all in so much of a hurry to get to the next part of our life that we’re actually missing parts of our lives?

And what are our kids learning? They’re in the back seat or the passenger seat, and they’re seeing the lack of courtesy. They’re hearing the ‘No, I’m not letting you in’ and they’re soaking that up and storing it for future knowledge. They’re learning from actions that I bet we don’t really want them to learn from. We’re missing a wonderful opportunity to show our kids that courtesy extends to everywhere, and it doesn’t matter what’s going on. Missing it big time.

I can say that what I see here in the south are young drivers acting like jerks. They’re learning the wrong lesson… and it could actually be killing them when you look at accident records and ‘road rage’ incidents.

If you see yourself in anything I’ve said, ask yourself…. why?