Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where art thou, Courtesy?

I came to the United States of America in 1988, full of hope and high expectations. And America treated me well and is home for me now. And I am proud of the fact that I am a citizen of this great nation. But something has happened in the last 20 years that worries me, pulls me down.

My favorite commercial 20 years ago--- Wells Fargo Bank ( I think), where a couple of horse drawn carriages come up to a crossroad and they politely wait for each other to go first.... and people 20 years ago reflected the same kind of mannerisms and culture in that commercial. And I loved it. Life went along at a slower pace, people smiled more, were more relaxed.

And now fast forward 20 years.... the saleswoman at the mall helped me, but with a frown on her face. Made me feel as if she was doing me a favor.... when I go to work in the morning, a lot of drivers around me are tense-looking..... We hear about aggressive drivers all the time (at least in our metro area)...... People are in a rush, they smile less, have more deadlines to meet....

So what happened since the last 20 years? Maybe it's me, I'm older now (46-- yikes!!). Maybe the passing years have given me a different perspective on life. Maybe I'm taking the time to "smell the roses" now. Was I one of the tense drivers on the morning commute 20 years ago? I just don't know...

But how I miss those days. An act of kindness and courtesy in the morning, something as simple as a smile and a good morning nod by a complete stranger, usually set me up for a good day. I felt doing the same to somebody else.... and a cascade ensued.

Could we go back to those days? Or something close to it. "With gas prices like these? Ain't gonna happen," my friends tell me! But I think we need it more now than at any other time. A little dose of politeness, with a little extra helping of kindness will go a long way in tiding us through these tough times. Cynics would say--"These things are not going to put food on the table" or these days "Ain't gonna fill up the gas tank". And that's true, but the heartburn that you get at the pump watching the dollars roll four times faster than the gasoline gallons, would be a lot less if somebody had shown some kindness, compassion or courtesy that day!

Remember, it doesn't cost you a thing. And you better believe what somebody wise said a long time ago-- "The best thing you can wear to improve your looks is a smile."