"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use." --Emily Post
Today, I sat behind a Toyota Corolla trying to make a LEFT turn on a very busy four-lane road without the aid of a traffic light at 6pm. I tapped on my steering wheel and asked the driver, "Seriously? Is this a good idea? Are you a federal government employee?"
I watched as the traffic flew by. Cars whizzed by from the left. They chugged along from the right. I became more and more frustrated with the decision-making skills of the driver in front of me. "Because I have SENSE," I told myself, "I am making a RIGHT turn onto this very busy road. You, Ms. Toyota Corolla should take a page out of MY book and do what is GOOD and, more importantly, JUST." Honestly, this person was just being RUDE by making this left turn.
See, I have this list of Things That Polite People Avoid. I believe fervently that rudeness is actually evil incarnate and I try to be polite to people as much as I can, often to my own detriment. In my 20's and 30's, I should have been involuntarily committed because of the lengths I would go to to avoid "putting someone out."
So, here's the (condensed) list. Learn it. Live it. Or at least try not to take advantage of those of us who are overly polite.
- Polite people avoid talking on their cell phones while checking out of any line. I want to CUT people who do this. If you have a conversation that you absolutely MUST have (and I have HEARD some of your conversations...they have more to do with Sally Jo's latest hair disaster than a 911 call involving the person behind you in line), then please do it BEFORE you approach the register. The person behind the register is actually human. Seriously. They really don't want to hear (second-hand) about your knee problems or the fact that your husband went to the Bahamas with his dental hygienist. Honestly, you are forcing them to eavesdrop.
- Polite people avoid saying no. To everything. Yes, of course you can cut in front of me in line. Yes, you can be two hours late for any event I am holding. Yes, you can have my kidney. (You see what I'm getting at here? I've had some serious issues with this whole "polite" thing.)
- Polite people avoid blocking lanes of traffic when trying to ease over into a left- or right-turn lane at the last minute. I will go MILES out of my way if I make this error rather than force the traffic behind me to wait while I nudge my car into a non-existent space into a turning lane. I abhor people who do this and who stare straight ahead as if they have every right in the world to block ALL the traffic behind them. Nope, suck up your mistake Suzy Q and keep driving. Do a u-turn (legally of course) down the road but do NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC.
- Polite people avoid asking for help. Even if you are in a store and an employee is STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU, you do not ask for assistance. What if they're busy? OK, they don't LOOK busy, but maybe they are on the cusp of solving the world hunger problem and if you ask your stupid question (e.g. "In what aisle could I please find the cat food?" because of COURSE you have to throw in a please if you DO ask your stupid question) they are going to completely lose their train of thought and, bam, world hunger still exists. Because of you. Keep it to yourself and find your own damn cat food. (I have a REAL problem here, I'm telling you. I am a ridiculous human being.)
- Polite people avoid telling you that they are angry or that you've hurt their feelings. In almost 13 years of marriage, I really don't remember my ex-husband and I ever REALLY arguing. I mean, I would get snippy sometimes but he never did. We didn't argue. By the time we figured out that arguing was probably important (and actually healthy), we were so disconnected that neither one of us cared enough to be angry about anything.
- Polite people avoid people. After all, if you don't connect with people, then you don't have to ever be rude. Duh.