Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 10/04/2021
This is an example learned in a church parking lot, so perhaps it’s a bit of a “confession.”
I find that I try to allow people to merge or to cross in front of me in traffic because that’s how I like to be treated. But I’m not perfect about it, and sometimes I’m in a rush or oblivious because I’m in (what passes for in my case) “deep thought.” If I’m in a splenetic mood, well, you should have thought of merging before you reached me.
In that church parking lot, though, I (and others) tend to be quite polite. We wait for the dawdling pedestrians (I know you can walk faster than that at age 85!), we allow people to pull out in front of us (I know these people, just saw them in there, and I’ll see them again next week, need to be polite).
The lesson for me is—beyond general courtesy and consideration—that we act better when there are clear future consequences. The driver on the highway we don’t allow to turn in front of us is a stranger, never to be seen again. We readily complain to faceless call center operators and express anger over delayed deliveries and incorrect shipments.
But I tend to be Clark Kent, not Superman, when I’m dealing with restaurateurs I patronize regularly, local traffic where I’m likely to be recognized by my cars, and postal personnel and bank tellers whom I see on a regular basis.
In other words, I think we make an extra effort when we can relate to people and know their regard for us will depend on how well we act on a continuing basis. That’s why I try to fight “road rage” because I’m never going to see that jerk again, so why get crazy? Too many of us, of course, are in “life rage.”
The last time I tried to leap a tall building in a single bound I crashed into the front door.
The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any. —Fred Astaire
The greater the controversy, the more you need manners. —Judith Martin (aka “Miss Manners”)
Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners. —Laurence Sterne