Uncommon courtesy

(Un)common courtesy

Whatever happened to thanking people?

Whatever happened to raising your hand when somebody lets you in (when driving)?

The common courtesy of simply raising your hand to both acknowledge and be a gesture of kindness?

Showing somebody that you appreciate what they’ve done for you.

How about the most basic, fundamental, communication of just putting on your turn signal before you change lanes?

It seems like even that is a luxury these days.

If you get turn signals AND get the hand after, you’re like “Whoa!  This guy is really overdoing it now!  He’s communicating too much!”

Whereas, like 30+ years ago, that would have been just normal.  Would have been expected.  Looked forward to, in a way.

How does it feel?

How does it feel when someone tells you that they are changing into your lane?

How about when you see that someone has an urgent need to go into your lane, possibly due to their own error, but you let them in anyway, and they thank you after?

Now, how does it feel when someone purposefully tries to cause harm to you, for trying to drive safely? 

This is inherently what they are doing when they change into your lane without notice and without the space required.


How do we explain such a breakdown?  A breakdown of concern.  Of empathy.

I’d like to examine this from 3 perspectives: 

1. Respect

What makes you respect somebody?

If you were driving and knew that your brothers and sisters were also among the sea of cars, would that make you want to turn on your turn signals?

Would that still make you cut them off?

Potentially causing an accident, but guaranteed to illicit negative emotional reactions in both yourself and the offended party.

But alas, they are not your brothers and sisters, right?

They are just strangers.

And since they are just strangers, then “I’m not going to signal”.

2. Communication

I’m not going to communicate.

I’m not going to care if my actions will harm them, whether that harm is emotional or physical.

It’s all about perspective

Now let’s look at this from another point of view: 

Let’s say the person who was cutting off people and not signalling was somehow aware of the pain they were causing. 

If they actually felt this pain for themselves.  Not just having empathy, but experiencing it.

Would they then still do what they do?

I believe the answer is:  No, they would not.

3. Compulsion

People do what they are compelled to do.

Turning the table

If I could feel the loss of respect, the feeling of being put down, the feeling of not being cared for, caused when I aggressively slide the car I am driving directly in front of another.

If I could feel the shame, or the attempt to be nonchalant, caused when I see someone (myself) mouthing curse words and glaring at me with what appears to be vile hatred.

If I could, then I wouldn’t do it.

Or maybe I feel that others are already making me feel like that, so I’m just paying back the favor?

I feel disrespected every day, and that nobody cares about me, so why should I care about them?  They deserve to feel the way I feel.

One of the most commonly said phrases these days is based on this pattern:

“<negative verb and/or profanity> <targeted noun or verb>”

For example: 

“<profanity> you!”

“I don’t give a <profanity> about what he thinks!”

This vibe, train of thought, or mindset, is propagated, accentuated, and promoted by popular media.

Can’t nobody tell me nothing

-your child’s favorite song from 2019

It’ll be interesting to see the demographics of people who do not signal or do not communicate on the road.

To find patterns in them.  Are they young, or old? How often are they on their computers (all of them, including “phones”)?

Then with that data, we can triangulate and discover wisdom within the data.

Then we’ll know the truth.

Then we’ll know what’s really going on.