Not long ago, I was standing in my kitchen, cutting some plastic rings from an empty six-pack in half, when a friend asked me, “Um, what in the fuck are you doing?” Surprised at his surprise, I answered, “Well, I’m cutting these so the baby ducks don’t get strangled by them! Don’t you do that?” In response to his blank stare, I continued, “Seriously? Didn’t you ever see that horrible commercial where those poor ducks had these wrapped around their necks because they get in lakes and stuff from the garbage? They get stuck and DIE! It’s horrible! I always cut them.” After a longer, blanker, but markedly more concerned stare, I was all, “What? Why would you want baby ducks to die? It’s not hard. It only takes a minute and hey, I’ve saved a duck.”
After the above exchange – in which I learned everyone I know apparently doesn’t give a SHIT about baby ducks – I started thinking about other common courtesies I engage in that others apparently don’t. My conclusion? Either I’m too nice or everyone else is an asshole.
Holding a Door for the Person Behind Me.
As long as I can remember, this has pretty much been de riguer for any situation. If you open a door and someone is following, unless it’s a mugger, you hold the door. You don’t have to roll out a red carpet and bugle, but giving that person the option to not have a door slammed in their surprised face really is the polite thing to do.
Apologizing After Accidentally Injuring Someone.
I’m one of those idiots that will apologize to a door if I accidentally bump into it. If you body check me into a post trying to get on the train, the words “I’m sorry!” will jump out of my mouth faster than my brain can reconcile that I was not the one at fault. I do realize not everyone is like this. However, if the situation ever arises in which you accidentally (I hope) knock a can of Spaghettios onto someone’s head at the grocery store, I have to believe it should be the norm to apologize. (Yes, that happened to me. Yes, it really fucking hurt. And yes, I called the lady that did and then sauntered off a whole lot of bad, bad names. In my head.)
Be Responsible for Your Pets’ Behavior.
Yes, my cats are assholes. Yes, they’ve sent a few folks to the hospital. However, I warn people that they are assholes. “Oh, cute kitties! Hi Kitty!” by newcomers receives the response of, “Yeah, she’s cute. But she bites. Hard. And scratches. Until she draws blood. Please don’t touch her.” If your dog gallumphs up to me, delightfully sniffing at my crotch, I’m going to assume he’s friendly. A simple, “He’s not really a people person!” or the like would be a fabulous warning that the cuteness my brain thinks is a nice doggy actually wants to eat my head should I try to pet him.
Letting Someone Cross the Street in a Torrential Downpour While You Are Cozy in your Vehicle.
I am perhaps a bit biased on this one, as Mother Nature is having some sort of bitchfit that she’s taking out on Chicago. There is simply no dressing appropriately for this bipolar attack of weather. Yesterday, I wore my big heavy rainboots and rain jacket and by the time I got home I was sweating like a whore in church and cursing everything I could think of. Today, I refused to be tricked and 45 seconds after I got off the bus, my toes were frozen and I was slip-sliding my way on a sheet of ice across the intersection. An intersection at which I had the right of way, I might add. So the multiple cars – at a stop sign – who honked at me as I skidded across the street were just being mean. You’re in a car, you jackhole. You think I wouldn’t rather be in a car than ice skating across Chicago Avenue? I bet it’s warm in there. I bet you wore socks. I bet snow didn’t just get in your contact and blind you midstep. (Bad, bad moment. I’ve feared for my life only a few times. This was one of them.) Long story short – your moment right now is MUCH BETTER than mine. No need to add insult to near-certain injury.
Thoughts? Am I naive to expect such things? It seems basic to me, but sometimes I wonder if there’s people out there all, “Look at this idiot who keeps smiling at everyone! Hey, Corky! Not everyone’s your friend!”
I guess it doesn’t matter. I’m probably not changing this late in the game. And to those that do think that – start being nicer. STOP KILLING BABY DUCKS.