Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Lack of Civility and Consideration

Every weekday morning I stop at a Tim Horton coffee outlet on my way to work. The drive-through queue is almost always long and often extends out into the street. The road is a busy, multi-lane artery. In the morning, when everyone is in a rush to get to work, it is dangerous for any vehicle to be sitting with its ass-end hanging out into the thoroughfare. This should be so obvious to anyone with a brain that it would seem logical that each driver would creep up as close to the car in front of his or hers, to allow as many vehicles onto the lot as possible.

Apparently this is not as obvious as I think it should be. Every day, there are wide gaps between vehicles in the queue as passengers yak with each other, put on their makeup, fiddle with their radio dials, call customers/spouses/lovers on their cell phones, or whatever else you can imagine. Anything but pay attention.

Several years ago, at this same location, someone was killed trying to get into or out of the parking lot, I can't remember which. No one appears to care.

Are these people stupid? Oblivious? Inconsiderate? All of the above? I don't know.

This sort of behaviour is rampant. At intersections where there are multiple lanes going in the same direction, drivers cross immediately to their favourite lane (usually the leftmost) and pay no heed to the fact that they are cutting off other drivers in the process. They don't signal lane changes. They... oh, you know the rest, I'm sure you all face the same idiots on the road as I do.

Thirty years ago, the cops would pull over motorists who were making improper lane changes. I haven't seen that happen for decades. It's too easy to pull over some guy who is driving a tad over the posted speed limit or some gal who isn't wearing her seat belt.

What worries me as much as the careless and erratic driving habits of people is the fact that this same who-gives-a-shit attitude is rampant everywhere. People don't make way on sidewalks or in the aisles of malls and supermarkets. They butt in front of you in movie lines. They don't care.

What will it take to restore civility and consideration in today's society?


  1. Whether I'm driving, or walking on the sidewalk or in a mall, I'm watching everyone else and thinking a few steps ahead so I can avoid getting in other people's way, or having them get in my way.

    A few more things people should watch out for:

    1) Walking under the overhang WITH your umbrella so people without them have to go around or under (and nearly lose an eye to the sharp points.

    2) Once you're finished at the ATM, put your money in your wallet and move on. Don't stand there for 2 minutes analysing your receipt or reorganizing your wallet/purse.

    3) Before you take a step backwards, or go to turn and walk away, take a look first to see who's there. I admit I have done this many times without looking, but it's something we can all think about more.


  2. Good points, Trooper. I've encountered all those situations as well. Sure would be nice if people engaged their brains before they leave the house in the morning!

  3. stupid?...oblivious?...inconsiderate? YES.

  4. I was taken aback by the courtesy of most people in the nearest towns down here. People saying "Excuse me" when they passed you in store aisles, stopping to hold doors open for you, a smile if you happen to make eye contact. What archaic time warp had we stumbled into? LOVIN' IT!

  5. I'm moving to wherever you are, Lin; it will be worth it just to be exposed to polite and considerate behaviour.

  6. It seems to me that the IQ of the general population has been slipping a few points a year for about three decades now, and the ability to use what they know dissipating a bit faster.
    A certain amount of this can be laid at the door of socialized education, but in the end it's the individual's responsibility to make sure (s)he is "up to speed".
    In my most recent post I wasn't exactly speaking the good king's English in dealing with an issue so obvious nobody should miss it, but it seems that if you're not blunt as a truncheon, you don't get through anyone's thick skull anymore.
    "Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit."
    - Edward R. Murrow

  7. Didn't you know that these thoughtless people are special!

  8. Our state recently had a "take back our highways" week,where in one week, our police officers and state troopers actually wrote 548 tickets (a quote from the local paper) in our county alone for traffic violations OTHER than speeding. I say HOORAY!!!! I think we live in a culture that has become so "me" oriented, we've forgotten things like simple kindness and good manners. In the mornings, I very nearly fear for my life when I leave my driveway to take my children to school. These mothers, who scold their children publicly for rude behavior, will run you off the road just to be the "first" in line, instead of waiting behind a bus of children unloading. Unfortunately, its not only in traffic situations or during busy times of day that rudeness and inconsideration have taken the upper hand. Its sad. Seriously just sad.