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Please and Thank You

I’ve noticed something that seems to be on the rise and it’s got under my skin so much that I have opened up a new post to start writing my frustrations out. Perhaps I won’t even press publish once I’m done, but for now, this will be my venting/therapy.

Manners. What has happened to them? It’s like they’ve just vanished.

There is so much wrong with the world at the moment, so I’m sure this probably seems too trivial to complain about, but for me it’s about the fundamentals. If we are getting the fundamental basics wrong, then no wonder we have bigger issues in society.

I drive a lot, in fact most South African’s drive a lot. I have absolutely no problem making way to let people into the traffic. I have no issue, in some of our narrow Cape Town roads, pulling over slightly to allow the other car to pass by before I then carry on.

What I do have an issue with is when there is no “Thank you.” No smile, no hand wave/gesture, no flick of the hazards, no acknowledgement.

I don’t know why it irks me as much as it does, but I feel my blood boil and sadly the more it happens and the more rudeness I experience, I just feel the prickle in my skin and I can go mad!

The other day I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic and a woman in the lane next to me had her indicator on. Four cars in front of me, drove slowly passed her and wouldn’t allow her in. I saw what was happening, slowed down even more and flashed my lights for her to move into the gap I’d created. She just pulled into the gap in front of me and that was it. There was no flick of the hand, no head nod, no acknowledgement… NOTHING. I was so irritated, that I ended up being the one who looked absolutely nuts.

I waited for her to look into her rear view mirror, and as soon as she did I put my thumbs up in a very animated “Pleasure! You’re welcome!!” gesture and mouthed (I must have looked certifiable) “PLEASURE!!!”

The penny must have dropped (bloody hell, thankfully for my sake of being just shy of convulsing from my “you’re welcome” gestures) and I got a limp hand gesture in realisation.

I felt slightly satisfied, but I’m still the one who looked insane (and had that momentary high blood pressure.)

It’s funny now, but at the time, not so much. Road rage is real but it’s also just not worth it.

I was complaining about this over a meal, with a friend and she casually suggested that I just stop letting people in. She said that she used to get irritated too, so now just doesn’t bother letting people in.

Sure, that’s one solution, but I don’t want to become one of those people who doesn’t bother or who doesn’t have consideration for others. It’s a slippery slope.

If we all start having those attitudes, then I feel sad for our humanity.

There is something else I’ve noticed and it’s really unsettling. The saying goes like this: “Smile. It’s contagious.”

Ordinarily when someone smiles at you… yes, stranger, you; you can’t help but turn the corner of your mouth slightly back at them, right?

Apparently not.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not walking around cheshire grinning at every stranger in the V&A Waterfront, looking deranged, but when someone looks straight at me, I smile politely at them. My past experiences have always received a little smile back.

Lately, I’ve smiled at someone and had them look at me, in my eye and then look away. It is unnerving. I honestly find it so unsettling. It’s bizarre.

Are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we can’t return a small smile?

I don’t want to become hardened and stop my manners, but I wish I could have other peoples rudeness roll off me, like water off a ducks back.

On my radio show on Smile 90.4 FM, I have a feature at 17h08 each day where I bring you “Bailey’s Hi-5” … 5 pieces of information that’s either inspiring or/and interesting. There are various life hacks, beauty hacks and so on.

In one of them I spoke about how you can either be a discourager or an encourager each day. It’s completely your choice, but I really hope you choose to be the latter and choose to be mindful of one another.

With our world being what it is today, we need one another more now than ever and if we lose the basic fundamentals, well, I shudder to think about it.

How do you feel about this?

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