Opinion: Manners cost nothing

Opinion: Manners cost nothing

Having struggled my entire life with the whole ‘right and wrong’ thing, I have, over the years, given considerable thought on how to conduct oneself.

And, by definition, how not to conduct oneself. The end result being I’m pretty good at knowing when somebody is being rude, inconsiderate or just plain ignorant. This sort of aberrant behaviour is something I’m seeing more and more of.

Perhaps this increase in rudeness is simply a reflection of society as a whole: as we elect more and more officials who think it’s okay to disregard the concept of humanity, lie to us and treat us like idiots, perhaps it’s inevitable the behaviour of the rank-and-file punter starts to echo those state approved eff-you-Jack sentiments.

In the last month or so, I’ve seen two different people in two different circumstances, all behaving boorishly. Funnily enough, there’s always been a car involved.

The most recent was a few mornings ago when I was walking the dawg about dawn. A Hyundai stopped in my street and the female driver wound down her window and asked if I knew where the local basketball courts were. I did, and gave what I thought were pretty clear instructions, adding that the street she needed was a bit hard to spot. This latter piece of information seemed to throw her and, rather than illustrate I knew what I was talking about, she presumed the opposite, sniffed, shook her head, wound up her window and drove off.

‘Thank you’ was, I think, the phrase she was looking for.

Ignorant tool number two was a few weeks earlier when I was happily driving down a section of divided road. In the lane next to me was a Navara towing a tradie-trailer full of wheelbarrows and cut-off saws and stuff. Thing is, the towball on the Navara’s drawbar was loose and the ball itself was rocking to and fro as the rig sped up and slowed.

I drew level and made a window-winding motion to the bloke in the front passenger’s seat. He opened his window while I shouted the situation to him.

How do you reckon he responded? “Oh, really? Thanks mate, I’ll check it at the next red light” or, “Yeah, thanks mate, we know. It’s got a pin through it so it can’t fall off. Ta anyway”.

Nope, what he actually said was: “Okay” and then wound his window up.

I sincerely hope his trailer flew off the ute later that day and hit a speed camera. No losers there.

But what’s the car connection beyond the – perhaps random – fact that everybody who’s messed with me lately has been sitting in one? Not sure, but just as we’d never dream of thumping a fellow pedestrian, we seem happy to reach for the baseball bat when somebody wrongs us in traffic. Reckon we all better take a look at ourselves. And start learning some manners.

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