Uncommon Courtesy August 16, 2015
I think as a public service, I am going to use this space to review a little bit of basic math: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Let me back up a minute and tell you why I am saying this. It seems to me that every single time I find myself in a parking lot of any kind, there is someone who is on foot in front of me. Now, I totally get that there is a lot of mandatory on-foot traffic in a parking lot. You park your car, you get out of it, and then you walk towards the building, often having to cross through ways in which other cars are driving. Sometimes, like at a school, (which is where I lost my mind this morning) there are cars dropping off people who then get out of the car and walk towards the building.
There are many times when you can’t park directly in front of the door, or drop someone off right in front. So I *get* that there has to be walking.
I don’t get that there has to be diagonal or zig zag walking. I don’t get that you have to walk three abreast in the center of the roadway. I don’t get that you, a healthy young person, have to walk so slowly that I have to look closely to see that you are moving at all. I truly-uly-uly don’t get why you can’t put down your iPhone for five seconds so you can cross the road while looking at the road and the other people and cars on it. Sometimes I think people walking do the opposite and are looking through my windshield trying to find my eyes behind my sunglasses just to telepathically communicate the message, “Yeah. You can wait for ME. I. Don’t. Care.”
Sometimes I’ll even say out loud, “Go Go Gadget Copter” and push an imaginary button on the dashboard which pops the helicopter blades out of my moon roof and gets them spinning and kicking up a dust storm before taking off into the distance that the slow walkers find themselves choking on dirt and jet fuel fumes.
So, since common courtesy has officially been renamed uncommon courtesy given its rarity, I would like here to list a few basic rules that I think will be non-controversial:
- When walking in a roadway, walk single file and on the side. If you must cross the road, do it at a corner, or, if no corner, in a straight line, and at the very least put some pep in your step.
- When getting on or off an elevator, train, bus, or anything else that comes to you and has doors that open, the people getting off the elevator, etc., have the right of way. This is because they are making room for you to get on/in. And because I said so.
- When you go through a door of any kind, look behind you. If there is someone within, say, 20 feet behind you coming towards the door, HOLD THE DOOR.
- If you are in line at a store, and you have enough groceries to feed a 13 year old boy for 6 hours (if this doesn’t sound like a mountain of food, you haven’t ever tried to keep a 13 year old boy fed) and the person behind you has a simple tin of Fancy Feast, let the person behind you get ahead of you.
- No matter how interesting your telephone conversation may be to you, or might be to the world at large if both sides of it were heard, if we are standing two feet from each other in a public place, your side of the conversation is not interesting to me, and is probably interrupting the thoughts and conversations of everyone around you.
- If I am in my car at a red light, and my windows are up, my air conditioner is on, and my own radio is on, and yet your music is so loud that it is rattling the fillings in my molars, your radio is probably too loud.
I’m going to stop here at a cool half dozen. Though truthfully, I could probably fill a book, and might with the least bit of encouragement. What’s your uncommon courtesy pet peeve? Let me know in the comments below.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.