The end of civility?

This, the next in my line of roadway rants. See my four way stop discussion here.

This weekend The Good Man and I had occasion to take a bit of a road trip. Just down Highway 1, a small jaunt in order to meet up with a whole passel of my in-laws. (passel being smaller than a gang but larger than a group)

As we drove, in many instances, we were forced to merge, to turn, to navigate our way carefully through the highways and byways of the Bay Area.

I noticed, as The Good Man drove, he always, very politely, gives a wave when someone does him the favor of letting him into a lane, or allows him to turn in a busy, congested area, or stops to let him through.

I also noticed that when The Good Man generously does the same for others, he rarely gets a wave of thanks and recognition in return.

Politeness, it seems, is on the soon-to-be extinct list.

This makes me cranky.

Sure, I know that a polite wave isn’t required by any driving laws. I’ll have you know that when I had to take that drivers safety class to work the points off from a speeding violation, it was often suggested that a polite wave was much appreciated by others on the road. That acknowledging each other actually makes us drive better.

Connectedness people! Put down your Blackberry and say hi to an actual person sometimes!

I shall tack on a quick rant: Upon employment here at my new job, I tried, in vain, for two weeks to say hello to the security guard on the first floor who I must walk directly past EVERY day. It seems strange not to acknowledge another human you see five of every seven days of your life. But he will NOT say hello to me. Will. Not. It kind of hurts my feelings…..

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  • Old Bogus

    Most people don’t see people when they are driving, just cars which are obstacles. When one waves or otherwise acknowledged other drivers, this humanizes those obstacles and makes drivers more considerate.

    I think this is why small towns “drive friendlier”, to coop Texas’ slogan: we wave and otherwise treat each other as humans.

    Except when two drivers get out to express road rage!

  • TGM

    OB is totally right. Cars completely dehumanize the people in them. And, in densely populated areas like this, it’s all competitive. I try to be as polite as I can – but I lose patience. Sometimes, though, I think of a line from George Carlin.

    “Do you ever see those shirts that say, ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way?’. Do you know what I do when I see those? I obstruct!”

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