and so the rant begins – what happened to common courtesy?

I’m really enjoying blogging. It’s been a great way to talk a bit more about what inspires me, what ignites me, and how I use those things in my daily life. I’ve also enjoyed the comments that I’ve gotten from people, both new friends through this platform and old friends in “real life”. Those old friends have noticed that there’s something missing from my blog: my rants. At first I thought, that’s not what this blog is about. I want to be upbeat, positive. You get what you put out in the world, and I’m a bit weary of constantly being the angry black woman. Who wants to read that blog? Perhaps more importantly, who wants to buy her art, her jewelry? But friends reminded me that’s part of who I am. I do try to be nice but the New Yorker in me is blunt and direct. That doesn’t always come out so nice.

Work Hard Be Nice - Little Miss Bent

And then I remembered a total stranger who overheard one of my rants, also about lack of common courtesy. He said, “do you have a blog? I would totally read your blog”. I also remembered that part of this journey is about bringing all of me into better balance. The professional me, the creative me, the philanthropic me, the opinionated me. Everyone has multiple interests. We’re all multifaceted. Embrace it.

Well, you talked, I listened. I’ll try to frame my opinions, but hey, they are rants. And so, I rant:

A few days ago I was leaving my neighborhood grocery store. A woman and her friend were chatting and blocked the path. They were standing around drinking coffee totally oblivious to the hustle around them. This happens fairly frequently and drives me more than a bit crazy. I walked around, but to do so involved walking into the parking area and stepping over a curb with bollards. That particularly morning something set me off. So I turned back and said, as kindly as I could manage, “hey, do you realize you’re blocking the path?”

The minute the words fell out of my mouth I wanted to shove them back in. “What’s wrong with me today? I’m not the courtesy police” I thought. Had either woman noted that I could have just said “excuse me”, I would have been duly chastised.

But neither did. I’d like to think I would have apologized–still asked her to move aside, but apologized nonetheless. Instead, the one standing directly in the middle of the path eyed me unkindly for a few seconds and said, “that’s okay, you can walk around.” Um, what? I kinda lost it. On the inside anyway. Outwardly, I flashed a smile and said, as sweetly as I could manage, “you’re right, but I’m just saying it would be nice, and appropriate, to move your chat to the side”.

Again, a few seconds passed. Then her friend stepped aside and she followed. It felt like we had had a standoff, unnecessarily. But I said “thanks” and continued on home. As I walked away, again I thought, “what’s wrong with me today?”

And then I wondered where common courtesy has gone. I could have handled it differently, but then, she certainly could have done so as well. It pains me a bit to think that we’ve become so self-absorbed that common courtesy is a thing of the past? I’ve seen kids playing on the sidewalk in a storefront–blocking entry to the store as their parents looked on.  We’ve all noted that guy finishing his phone call at the top of the escalator to the train platform–blocking access to the escalator.  The person who pulls his car into the driveway and blocks the sidewalk. There’s no malice in any of these, but it does smack of self-centered behavior. Not thinking about the impact on anyone else. When did this happen? I can’t be the only person noticing this. Bothered by this. I’m not. See below. So. Can we get back to those times when people cared about other people? When people actually took care of other people? Or am I romanticizing the good old days?


  1. Yes, it does smack of self-centered behavior. And we’re all getting sucked in!

    1. Yes! I’d like to think I’m pretty good about it. But I catch myself sometimes, but can’t really tell whether other ppl don’t care or I’ve just caught them on a bad day.

  2. ukipvoter · · Reply

    You are right… sadly we are living in a “me-me-me” culture. You start to feel like the odd one out just for being polite!

    1. It’s sad! A friend sent around an article blaming the Internet. The somewhat impersonal communication makes it harder to see people around us as, well, people.

  3. […] I understand why people were irritated; it took 50 minutes to travel about 25 blocks. I could have (and probably should have) walked the 3 miles in about as much time. So I get it. But disabled people have to get around too, and grumbling or outright yelling at the driver or passenger isn’t doing anything to help anyone. So what, the ramp must be deployed. So what, it takes time to rearrange the seats. Everyone has to get somewhere. It’s a difficult time for everyone, and perhaps more so for disabled passengers. There was even a point when one passenger grumbled because he had to get up in order to raise a seat banquette to accommodate the wheelchair. He relied on a cane and demanded help to move, angrily. Now where’s the sense in getting angry with someone who has few other choices? Once again, I wondered whether we have discarded common courtesy entirely. […]

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