Monday, September 5, 2011


An incident on my way to work on Thursday has set me off on a number of rants about courtesy.  I know.  It's an old fashioned word and I fear it's becoming an old fashioned trait.  

A noise I had never heard before coming from the rear of my car, brought me to a halt on the side of the road.  No, the noise caused me to bring the car to a halt.  Halt, is that another old fashioned word?  I'm full of them today.

Anyway, there I was on the side of a country road, wondering what the hell the noise had been.  I tentatively drove forward a bit and yes, there it was; backed up off to the side again and still it was there. Hmmm.

My first thoughts were a bit panicked.  Not another car expense so soon after losing my rear bumper on the road last week!  That won't be repaired till next week and already something else has gone wrong. Last week I had barely stopped before a neighbour came along and rescued me.   But there were no knights in shining (or otherwise) armour on Thursday morning.  The road was traffic-less for quite a while.  8 am.  A bit early for the farmers to be heading to town, especially at this, their busy time of year.  

The first vehicle to come along, the work vehicle of a roofing company with two men on board, didn't even lose speed as it whizzed past.  Late getting to a job I guess. But, hey, I had the bonnet up and was obviously a woman alone.  (I know the noise came from the back and I don't know what I expected to find but thought I might as well check the oil and water while I was there.)

Neither of the two drivers who did stop was remotely interested in my predicament, neither asked if I was OK, they both wanted to know how far to the Lodge or had they gone past it.   They both probably thought how lucky they were to find someone to ask for directions.  Didn't even bother to say thanks as they went on their way. 

I should say here that I didn't need their help at that stage, I had already rung my son and knew he was on his way and I'd told him not to hurry as I knew he was busy, but they could have asked.  I'd go so far as to say, should have asked.  To my way of thinking, they should have asked, even if they didn't want to lend assistance, they should have at least asked.  To both these young men I would appear elderly.  I stress I don't think I am but the media would tag me as such.  

But the one that had me steaming a bit was the van full of teenage students from an out of the district High School (they, too would have been heading for the Lodge) that slowed slightly, then carried on.  The driver would have been pulling in to the Lodge entrance by the time I finished thanking him for his courtesy, for the great lesson he had just given those young people on a caring community. 

Four vehicles in the hour I sat there and not one driver showed any concern for me.  I must add, none of them were local people, no neighbours.  

There were another two incidents that day that really had me wondering if courtesy is a thing of the past.  They were just little things and they couldn't be described as rudeness more a lack of good manners, a lack of courtesy, of caring for others.   It saddens me.

The good news is my son took about 4 seconds to announce I had a small stone lodged in my brake pad, it was nothing to worry about.  He was right, by the time I had driven about 100 metres, it was gone.  I felt a right idiot!

Coming home later in the day I saw an Enviroschools flag flying at the Lodge entrance and looked it up.  Yes, that's where the high school students would have been heading.   It was the first day of a series of workshops for students on possum control.  Hopefully, in the long run we will benefit from this practical programme.  (But I still think practical lessons in courtesy are just as important.)


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  2. I'm not generally known for my rantings these days - leastways I don't think I am. However I share with you the concern about a lack of courtesy. It's the zero tolerance ethic. No courtesy in the small things leads to no manners in the big things and then to the even bigger things so that the lad who was taught no respect as a toddler grows up to be the politician/banker/driver/whatever who shows no respect for those whom his actions impinge upon.

    I could go on...and on.

  3. Their is nothing like a good rant. Not that I indulge in such rudeness.
    I suspect it's more a lack of compassion and empathy.......selfishness even. One has only took look at the conduct of our supposed betters and also those senior to us. I hold shop doors open for my elders and invariably get no thanks and often get barged for my trouble. As for those silent and deadly scooter things..........I've said enough.

  4. the sad thing is they do not even know they are being rude, it is the way they live life. i have to say, here in Floria, if i am on the side of the road i am praying no one stops because a woman alone on the road is a big fat target and there are many that would stop but that would involve danger

  5. I have to agree with Sandra - most of those people, especially the students wouldn't even know that they are rude or lacking concern for others. They've been raised to think that their own well-being, self-esteem and interests are the most important. I hope someone in that school picks up your link and organizes a lesson for that busload.

  6. I too share serious concerns on this issue and the extended impact it has on individual and group behaviour. Like many things in life the pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.

    Thankfully the 'me' generation is limited in size. The gravity and extremes in their behaviour can be quite disconcerting and downright scary. That said, it is a reflection on society and what people seemingly will tolerate (generalization).

    I'm not sure if a quick fix exists other than individuals like us stepping up and stating 'enough'.

    Change begins at home, in our schools and with the public.

    I'll step down from my soapbox now.

  7. Nasty stone, fancy being a nuisance.

  8. Glad the problem wasn't as serious as you had feared. There is no excuse for people not offering to help or at the very least stopping to ask if aid was needed.

  9. Lots to ponder here, Pauline. I have to think many people, especially young one, assume that everyone has a cell phone. Not a good assumption, but I bet they think that.

    On the positive side, perhaps you looked more capable than elderly to them. :)

  10. people just don't have the manners they used to do they Pauline ... very sad indeed! Glad to know that it was nothing serious though!
    jen xo

  11. A few years ago My daughters car had a flat tyre
    We were stuck on the side of a busy road with three small children Not one of the hundred or so cars that passed stopped In fact I dont think any even bothered to slow down
    The days of courtesy and a handshake meant it was a deal are certainly gone


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