Tag Archives: courtesy

Revealing Behaviors

My mother used to lecture my sister and me about the importance of treating other people well; her (very outdated) measure of other women’s character was how they treated their maids.

Maids are in very short supply these days, but the sentiment remains valid. You can tell a lot about people by the way they treat subordinates or strangers.

Or–as I was recently reminded–by the way they act behind the wheel of a car.

My husband and I were driving home from South Carolina a couple of days ago and encountered one of those construction sites requiring the merger of two lanes of interstate traffic into one. Most of the affected motorists dutifully “lined up” when they first saw the signs, but there were several who immediately sped up–passing the patient/obedient drivers who were inching along waiting their turns, in order to get to the head of the line where a courteous person would allow them to merge ahead of the rest of us suckers.

This behavior, of course, further slowed the progress of everyone else.

Drivers who do this are sending a pretty clear message: “I matter, other people don’t, and if some of the schmucks obeying the signs are inconvenienced, I couldn’t care less.”

I can think of few behaviors that are more revealing of essential “assholery.”

These are the people who go through life making everything harder for the rest of us. If they had maids, they’d treat them badly.