Hello and welcome to Saving Sanity, a new feature here on my journal where I'll be defending sanity and helping everyone live a better life by answering the hard questions - questions so hard that they weren't asked. Rather than explain, I'll just dive right in and let you figure it out. The first question should have come from an apparent tourist to my fair state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations:
I was at a gas station in Middletown today when, after just leaving the car wash and about to drive away, I could have sworn some random stranger going in to the car wash gave me the finger! Just what could have caused such a rude farewell? Is everyone like that in your state, or what?
Perplexed at the Pump
I certainly can't speak for my entire state, but it's quite possible that a sizeable percentage of us - I suspect most! - could have done that. It's a sorry truth. Right now, perhaps more so than ever before, our civilization is just plain rude. Lynne Truss, in her recent book Talk to the Hand, goes into great detail about how people today are ludicrously uncivil. However, I'm not going to talk about the problem; I'm going to talk about the solution, and it's really quite simple.
Sure, courtesy can often be seen as hollow posturing, meaningless gesture, pretend caring. In many cases, it really is hollow. However, behind courtesy is the concept of consideration. It's not about the actual niceties, the physical acts, the words we say; it's what we're actually thinking about and reacting to that matters. Forget the rules of "etiquette" and just try to think how you would feel in someone else's position: Am I being needlessly hurtful? Am I giving off a bad impression? If we consider each other, we won't need courtesy - with the foundation of niceness firmly in place, the resulting actions will come perfectly naturally, and we'd never seem rude to others because we'd never be rude. If we all, as a country, learn consideration for one another, we can do away with this sort of rudeness once and for all.
So the next time you're pulling into a gas station, and there's a car behind you, pull forward to the last open pump, asshole! We don't put up with that sort of shit around here. You're lucky the finger is all I gave you; some other Rhode Islander in a truck may have just shoved your car to the next pump. That would have taught you. Honestly, doesn't anyone's parents teach manners where you're from? And you're in, what, your late forties? For the love of sanity...
Grow a brain,
That concludes this first Saving Sanity. Future installments will be posted roughly every time they're fucking needed. - ZM