“Oh, hon, it’s the little courtesies that make life bearable, I find, wouldn’t you agree?”

Last night the rain started, kept up all night and has just now stopped. This morning, during what my mother would have called a deluge, Gracie and I went out. Between the house and the car, a short distance, I got soaked. Now you’re probably thinking why didn’t this fool use an umbrella or at least a jacket. Well, the umbrella is in the car, and I didn’t even give the jacket a thought. Gracie and I just ran. She got in first. By the time I did, my shirt was soaked, and I was already cold. Why did I go out in the middle of a Noah rain you might be wondering? I needed a blood test, a fasting blood test, and I wanted it over as quickly as possible as my body was screaming for its morning coffee. I was dressed and on the road ten minutes after I woke up. I go to a lab that never seems to have any other people so I was in and out in five minutes, got even wetter running back to the car and right away headed to Dunkin’ Donuts. The line at the drive-up window was long, but it was fast. I got two cups of a coffee and a lemon donut, my treat to myself for getting the errand done and for being soaked. The first things I did when I got home were to change into dry clothes and take a towel to Gracie.

This is the first rain in weeks, and it was a good one. I even had to shut windows last night as it was so chilly and damp. The paper predicts today will be rainy on and off. I’m going nowhere!

I am on a rampage of late. Sometimes I wish I had a cow catcher on the front of my car. I’d use it to move the cars in front of me going around 20 or 25. The driver is usually a gawker who looks to the left and right, never behind. I let people out into traffic all the time, especially those crossing into the other lane. A few wave and thank me. Others just go as if the space I had made was a God-given right of passage. Common courtesy is becoming rarer and heading toward extinction. Because of my surgery, I had to give up 4 seats, two each to two different theaters: one theater’s two seats weren’t super expensive but the other two were, over $60.00 each. I didn’t ask for any money, After all, I had already paid for the season tickets, but a thank you would have been a nice gesture. Not one person bothered to do that. The other day I got cut off by a car coming out of a side street. Sometimes that’s the only way to get on the road here in the summer, but not this time. There wasn’t a single car behind me. A wait of about 5 seconds was all the driver would have needed. I guess that was way too long to wait.

The other day I told a person, “You’re welcome,” after I had held the door for him because his arms full of packages, and he was walking away. He muttered, “Thank you,” under his breath, a coerced response, but I’m hoping he’ll pass it along, this small bit of courtesy.

My mother taught me to be courteous when I was little. Please and thank you were the first lessons. I’m wishing for a resurgence.

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25 Comments on ““Oh, hon, it’s the little courtesies that make life bearable, I find, wouldn’t you agree?””

  1. im6 Says:

    Wish I could remember the name of the book, but it was sooooo long ago… one of my favorite books when I was growing up was one about the magic words. The magic words were, of course, “thank you.” Perhaps they need to reissue it.

    On another topic… if I may kid you just a little… is there no pleasing you? One day you’re complaining about the heat and the lack of rain. The next day you’re complaining about being chilly and how wet you got. 😉 Bad drivers, however, are completely acceptable reasons to complain!

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      I was also taught they and please were magic words. My mother would ask, “What do you say?”

      If I hadn’t gotten soaked, I would have had no complaints. I love the rain, and it sounded so wonderful on the umbrellas and on the windows. Soaked shirts, however, are chilly. I had to hang it up in the bathroom so it would dry. Right now I am perfectly content as is Miss Gracie, napping beside me.

    • im6 Says:

      I just remembered (duh!)… the magic word was “please” and not “thank you.” If there wasn’t, there probably should have been a companion book.

  2. greg mpls Says:

  3. greg mpls Says:

    sometimes ya just gotta go to the captain.

    • katry Says:

      greg,
      This is wonderful. The Captain’s song is perfect. Why didn’t I think to go to the captain!!!

      Thanks!!

  4. Erin Apostolos Says:

    Kat, working with the public, let me tell you, courtesy is a dying art. My older patrons are usually wonderful. Middle-aged, usually so. 20-somethings and younger, courtesy is a mystery to them. There are some young ones who clearly have been taught good manners, but those parents are a dying breed. So much so, that we don’t even bother to comment on the misbehaving kids anymore. We comment on the well-behaved ones. “Doesn’t so-and-so do a great job with her kids? They’re always so polite. Did you see how they all held hands in the parking lot?” What we once took for granted is now something we marvel at. It’s sad.

    We had one 8-year-old come in. He looked at my staff member and said, “Computer.” She gave him a puzzled expression. “Do you mean that you would like to use a computer, please?” He looked sheepish, and nodded. The next time he came in, I was working the desk. “Can I have a computer, please?” Ahhh, a fast learner. I praised my staff member for what she had done. If only one child can be saved!

    Love,
    Erin

    • katry Says:

      Erin,
      That is just so true. We compliment good manners because they are so rare in the young. I use that “you’re welcome” line all the time.

      When I worked, I demanded courtesy and manners. Hats off in my office, thank you and the whole bit, and the kids responded. They just needed to learn just your 8 year old did. Give them expectations, the means to get there and they’ll do just fine.

      Love you, Erin!

  5. bob fearnley Says:

    Hi, Kat,
    Good manners may be a dying art, but we’ll continue the battle by letting cars cross over in front of us – especially at the Cape. I’m sure that drivers in the cars behind the one waiting to turn were appreciative. We won’t whine when we don’t get thanked; we’ll just continue to do it. All the best.

    bob

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Yup, I won’t give up on this. I’ll let cars go, and I’ll always say please, thank you, excuse me and all the other common courtesies. I’ll do it for me!

  6. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    You gave tickets to someone and they didn’t a) offer to pay for them or b) say “thank you”?
    How very rude. You should unfriend those people.

    Sometimes it seems that people are walking around completely unaware that there are other people walking around with them. They are tuned out of real life and tuned in to iPod or updating Facebook statuses or texting friends. Real people sharing the sidewalk seem not to register on the radar.

    The morning weatherman said we were having a mini northeaster. A northeaster should never be associated with anything mini.
    Here it’s drippy with a half-hearted breeze. It’s also quite cool. I’m not shutting the windows, though.
    Enjoy the day. It’s supposed to dry out later on.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      They did neither one. I would have said no to paying but a thank you would have been nice.

      Even people without being connected to something don’t notice anyone around them. I see people sitting in their cars in the fire lane which says no parking. I want to ask them if they noticed something which said ignore this if in your car. Convenience is the key.

      No rain but a really chilly day. I’m about to take a nap under warm and cozy covers. The back door is ajar so Gracie can come and go so it is keeping the house chilly.

      You also enjoy the day. I’m just glad for rain finally!

  7. olof1 Says:

    The newer the car is the more impolite the driver is. They never wave a thank You when I let them pass but if the car is an older one the driver always waves a thank You. I’ve also realised that new cars most probably don’t have flashers. Obviously they must pay extra for those these days 🙂 🙂 🙂

    But not thanking for those tickets is extremely rude! I guess they don’t learn people to say thank You any longer.

    Hot again here today, we reached 83 and the promised thunder showers will most likely never arrive. They’ve promised that every day for over a week now and so far they’ve been wrong. Strange really, it isn’t especially often I long for rain and when I do there’s no rain in sight 🙂

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I have to disagree as I have 2012 Toyota and am darn polite. I find men are less prone to waving thanks but women are quickly catching up to them.

      These people who got the tickets are my age. I guess they didn’t think a thank you all that important.

      This is a great day for a nap. It’s dark and damp and cool. Tomorrow will be similar but the rest of the week will be in the 80’s. We really needed that rain.

      Enjoy your evening!!

  8. hedley Says:

    And so The Prince’s Uncle Eric Fisher has signed a rather attractive contract and is heading for camp with the Kansas City Chiefs this afternoon. I am sure the KTCC football team will enjoy the adventures of Uncle Eric as the number one draft pick of the National Football League

    And The Prince is hoping for a lego set for his birthday – it is good to be 7

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I bet Uncle Eric is excited and very nervous. He has a “bit” of pressure to perform.

      Does he have a particular Lego set in mind?

      • Hedley Says:

        We had quite a discussion and he wants the Ninjago series with the gold ninja. He was less than impressed with the new Lone Ranger series

      • katry Says:

        MDH,
        I can imagine there is no comparison between a masked man and a gold ninja.

  9. Birgit Says:

    If you have any leftover rain, PLEASE send it over. We’ve had thunder and lightning, but still no rain. I promise my garden and me will THANK YOU 😉
    It’s late, I’m tired, Good night!

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      It started raining again this afternoon, and I would love to send you some if I could.

      Gracie is the first of my dogs who doesn’t mind going out into the rain. She just came in and is soaked again.

  10. Bob Says:

    Now you know why our insurance rates on our cars is so high. Most people seem to drive with blinders on especially if they are talking on a cell phone. Here we have to look out for the upper middle class woman who thinks her Ford Explorer is as strong as a Sherman tank. She is usually running late, driving offensively fast and chatting on the phone. I drive very defensively and always give way to a driver who wants to cut me off. I just slow down and let him or her get in front and let them go as fast as they like. I think the world’s capital of slow bad drivers is South Florida. Florida should change their state symbol to a steering wheel with two eyes peering through and two hands on top. It’s the land of the perpetual left turn signal.

    I hate having my blood drawn for a fasting blood test. Actually, I hate needles in any form. Anytime I have to have a fasting blood test the doctor has allowed me to drink a cup of black coffee in the morning before the test. Of course, no sugar or milk. It makes the needle ordeal more tolerable.

    This morning it rained on my way to work. Not a big down pour like you described, but just a few sprinkles. What you described here is called “It’s rainin’ so hard it’s like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock”. We could use that kind of rain, but we’ll take any kind of rain in July.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      Here it is the elderly all year and the tourists in the summer that we have to watch out for in traffic. I really don’t see many cell phone talking as it is illegal here, and it seems most people abide by the law. Rainy days are stay home unless you want to be driven crazy days.

      I don’t mind needles. During Peace Corps training we had one shot before we left the country then one day in Ghana we went from one station to the other to get needles. We had 5 that one day as well as polio vaccine.

      It is still raining!

  11. Ilka Normile Says:

    My late mother had very little patience for anything and trying to enter traffic on Route 28, at the end of our beachside block, was always a challenge in the summer. She would simply count to ten and GO! It was terrifying to be in the passenger seat and rather embarrassing too, but she always got her way and seemed quite pleased about it as well.
    On the other hand, sha was a stickler for her children’s etiquette. I carried on that tradition with my own child and many classrooms of preschoolers in my Montessori days. My daughter told me recently that she was annoyed as a child by my constantly asking “what’s the magic word?” but now as an adult she is grateful to have good manners and makes a point to praise parents who are making an effort to teach civility to their offspring.

    • katry Says:

      Ilka,
      That first paragraph gave me a chuckle. I could see her barreling right out and drivers pulling over rather than hit her or be hit. Like you, I would have been terrified.

      My mother was the model of patience. Her three daughters are not. She complained all the time when driving with any one of us that we had the worst language in traffic. She was right.

      We were taught the magic words and expected to use them, and it continues with the next generation. My sister’s grandson is extremely polite, and my sister is always complimenting her daughter-in-law who has taught him good manners and always expects them.


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