Monday, January 26, 2004

Common Courtesy

I can be very meticulous. Critical, judgmental, and hard to please at times. I am the type who scolds people openly for smoking in public, or at least, fan the smoke to the smokers' direction. I am also the type who picks up other people's rubbish on their feet, abusing them with words whenever I feel hostile. I am the type who asks, "Why? Why oh why did they do this? Didn't they think of others?" when people do things that endanger or at least, disturb others.

During the journey on train, I couldn't help but thinking that many people don't share the same thoughts. I was raised to be... I don't know the exact word, maybe, responsible? Most of the time I obey rules (if they make sense to me, that is). I make sure not to burden or disturb others. When I'm in the crowd, I set my Naralasa (my cell phone, by the way) on vibrate mode. I make sure to go to the toilet when the train is moving. Whenever I drive (and that's not often) I try to be extra careful.

It makes me angry and annoyed to note that many people do not seem to think of others. Oh true, true, they care a lot about what others might think of them. My partner once marveled how people-conscious humans can be. Once when he was about to go to a mosque on Friday noon, it rained heavily. He waited for a while but it kept pouring. There were two guys nearby. He never met them before. One of the guys became agitated. He had to say something.
First Guy: Ah, it rains.
Second guy: Yeah. I think we might get sick if we try to go to the mosque.
First guy: You're right. The rain's so heavy. But we have to pray...
Second guy: Maybe we can pray from here? I mean, it's not that far from the mosque.
First guy: Good idea! (pious expression on his face)
I wonder, why did they need to justify their act? Why bother? It is as if they felt bad if a guy they didn't know would think of them in a negative way. Why should they care?

Back to the journey. I noted to my horror that many people actually chose the time when the train stopped to go to the toilets. Even a three-year-old kid (the same girl who searched her mother's hair for fleas) nudged her mother, saying, "Ma, the train's stop. A good time for you to go to the toilet!" Who put that idea into her head? She couldn't have the idea (the train's stop = time to go to the loo) on her own. I am highly suspicious of her mother and grandmother, but I have no proof...

So that time I asked him, "Is it common courtesy to go to the toilet when the train's moving?" Quisalas said that it was, they even put signs on the toilets saying "Please do not use when the train stops" or something to that effect. For those of you who are not familiar with toilets in trains, well, how should I put it? The trains will not collect the human refuse. There is a hole on the toilet. I leave the rest to your imagination.

Then I wonder why do people do this thing? Oh sure it must be quite a hassle going to the loo when the train is moving. Movements, jolts, and the like. Yet, can't they read? Don't they have common sense or courtesy?

Also the people who max their cell phone volume in public places. I'm quite certain that these people need to have their ears checked. When we were queueing in front of the counter, a guy next to us seemed to be oblivious to an annoying sound. I exclaimed loudly, saying, now, whose cell phone is ringing? Other people checked their phones but theirs didn't ring. Finally it dawned on this guy that it was his. After a while it rang again and it took him many precious seconds before picking it up. The third time, he didn't hear it again. So I told him that his phone was ringing. At first he didn't believe me, but when he found out that it was true, he looked at me as if wanting to say, "How did you know?" I felt like shouting, "Because it rang so loudly, dammit!"

The worst kind is the ones who deliberately let their cell phones play a midi for a long time before picking them up. Usually teenagers and young adults do this. Perhaps they think it is a cool thing to do. While I strongly feel that these people deserve to be shot.

And oh, let's not forget the reckless drivers who endanger people's lives. Swerving here and there, expecting others to slow down or move to avoid collision. It's perfectly OK if they want to jeopardize their lives, yet why do they have to drag other people into their mess? Isn't it common courtesy? Or perhaps it is me who protest too much?

Or could it be that common courtesy never exists at all? Maybe it's a myth. And I'm a firm believer.

My partner told me that people ought to build cars with two or three missiles. With the state of many drivers in big cities nowadays, I think I'm going to use them all on the first hour I drive.

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