I have to admit, I'm not always the most polite or thoughtful person, but I'd like to be. In our contemporary, "me" world, most people's number one concern is still childhood obesity, and the terror that technology is enabling our population's desire for instant gratification. I guess I worry about those things too, but more than that, I'm worried what happened to our manners. Bottom line, people aren't very nice to each other anymore.
I was pulled into a tandem parking spot the other day. I had let my fiance out to mail a package at the UPS store. I sat in my car waiting for him, and I figured if the guy who was parked in front of me arrived, I would simply move my car to let him out. I would never dream of just ditching my ride and blocking him into the spot. Why would I even want to do that?
After a few minutes, the owner of the car does indeed show up. As he heads for his car door, I began preparing to move my car. Before he even gets in, I am shocked to hear him start yelling at me! "You have to move!" he starts shouting, over and over again. I didn't even know what to do! I talked to him through my window, "I know, I know, I'm moving." It becomes even more belligerent, "YOU NEED TO MOVE!" I continue to respond, "Okay, okay, I'm moving!"
Did he assume that he would get in his car, and I would just continue to sit there? I figure in that kind of situation he might just indicate to his vehicle, so I would know he'd be pulling out. Or maybe he would have said kindly, "I'm leaving." Seriously, I'm not here to make any one's day difficult, that's for sure. If anything, I like to be helpful! Does he assume the worst of me because I'm young? Or because I'm a woman? All I know is... My feelings were hurt. I was sad that a complete and total stranger assumed I was going to act like a jerk. So with a preemptive strike, he decided to be a jerk FIRST!
These are the moments I just want to go back to a time where a man in the same situation would say something like, "Excuse me miss, would you mind moving your car, I have an important meeting I'm headed to." To which I would have responded, "Certainly sir, have a lovely day." We both would have felt better, perhaps even enjoyed the encounter, and both parties would have their needs met.
THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE: Don't assume people are going to inconvenience you. Pretend it's 1950 all over again. With kindness and a smile, just ask people for what you need. I have a feeling, that with a spoonful of sugar, everyone will feel a lot better about themselves, each other and society post millennium.