Basic Courtesy


By on Wed, June 16, 2010

What happened to basic courtesy?  In a world increasing populated by people who get upset over any sight or sound that infringes upon their hyper-tuned ‘senses’, I witness an ever increasing amount of people for whom basic or common courtesy is not part of the equation.  I am from Southern California.  When I came to the Bay Area 10 years ago I used to marvel at the community consciousness, the courtesy, the awareness that we as individuals are not the only people with lives or important business. 

I used to drive in the Santa Cruz mountains on weekends and witness the unique courtesy drivers here offer other drivers on the roads here.  If you were on a mountain road in SoCal and came upon a slower vehicle, you might as well get used to it.  NOBODY pulls over to let faster cars through.

Not true here in the Bay Area.  Maybe because many of the commuters have cycles or hot rods of their own, but when you would catch a slower vehicle, more often than not that slower vehicle would let you pass as soon as it is safe.  That is still largely true.  This is actually amazing and beautiful and most of all, follows laws of common courtesy and decency. Would you block a faster person behind you on a sidewalk, or in the airport?  How about in the shopping isle, if you are browsing the chips and a person wants to get through, do you make them wait or do you pull your basket to the side and let them through?

This is pretty basic to me, but increasingly, I see more and more aggressive drivers who refuse to let faster cars pass.  I am not sure why anyone would ever block a faster car, but I am sure people have their reasons, or they would not do it.

But the larger point is this, every time I see someone complain that some skateboarder is riding in front of his house and making his dog bark, or some neighbors boat is not parked properly, or that some motorcycle came by their house too fast, I cant help but believe that these are the same people who would make it so a motorcycle could not pass them on a two lane road. The people who complain that others are ruining their world by letting their kids play ball in the street or playing their music too loud on a Saturday are most likely the people who would light a fireplace on a no-burn day or drive a hummer to the mailbox.  Often, the least courteous among us are the least tolerant.

I think courtesy is a two-way street.  I myself, now a resident of the Santa Cruz mountains, NEVER drive with a car behind me.  If they caught up to me, they are obviously traveling faster than I am, so I let them by as soon as possible…..and if someone flies by my house in an ultra-light, I dont call the county to find out what air use restrictions are….....

But that is just me…...