Saturday, July 10, 2010

What is Common Courtesy?

We were lectured today on our way to Target about our lack of "common courtesy." We were in a left turn-only lane. Someone drove up to us in the "straight only" lane and asked if he could turn in front of us when the lane light changed. I looked at Daddy, and he said no. So, I politely mouthed "He said NO. Sorry!" to the guy.

We joked about how the guy was going to hunt us down in Target, being as it was pretty obvious we were going to the same place. We didn't actually expect this man to speed across several lanes of parking lot at around 30 miles per hour to get to us as we got out of our vehicle. We didn't expect a lecture about "common courtesy" in the Target parking lot. But guess, what. It all happened.

The definition of "courtesy" is as follows:

cour·te·sy (kûr'tĭ-sē)
n. pl. cour·te·sies
a.Polite behavior.

b.A polite gesture or remark.

c.Consent or agreement in spite of fact; indulgence: They call this pond a lake by courtesy only.

d.Willingness or generosity in providing something needed: free advertising through the courtesy of the local newspaper.

So, I want to know -- should we have let the guy cut in front of us, violating traffic laws? Technically, what he expected follows the definition "d." Does "common courtesy" apply here? Should we have expected everyone behind us to wait to let this guy in front of us? And is it really following the laws of "common courtesy" to hunt down the people who think were rude to you just to tell them how rude they were? I mean, really? And what does common courtesy dictate about expecting people to be courteous? Doesn't that defeat the purpose of courtesy? Courtesy is something given that isn't expected. It's like yielding the right-of-way when you're driving. You are supposed to be the person doing the yielding, you're not supposed to expect others to yield and take the right-of-way, it's to be given - not taken?

I honestly think this guy was considering starting a fight with Daddy, but he hadn't expected Daddy to tower over his little white sports car like the Jolly Green Giant towers over his fields. As the guy was lecturing us, we politely explained that he obviously got there at around the same time as we did, so it didn't really matter. He didn't need to hunt us down. Perhaps maybe he should have had the "common courtesy" to follow the traffic laws and pay attention to where he was going, rather than expecting us to inconvenience everyone behind us who had paid attention and gotten into the lane they needed to be in to get where they were going.

I think perhaps people in New England ought to take the "Worst Drivers by State" study seriously and start learning to drive a teeny bit better. If you want to get technical, we have Nebraska plates and learned to drive in Nebraska. Nebraska which is 46 out of 50 in the worst states. Meaning, We are in the top ten states for the BEST drivers!

What do you think? Should we have let him through? Did we violate the laws of "common courtesy?" What should we have done?

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

C&P of my FB reply...
He was a jackass who needs to lighten up. Did he have flashing lights and sirens? No? Then he needs to observe the rules of the road. My mom would probably say that if he had out of state plates she'd allow it, but, I say the rules of the road are the rules, no matter where you live.