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.)