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Court courtesy

February 21, 2012

Sunday used to be a day of rest, but it now appears to have become a day of wrestling. For parking spaces, bargains, shorter check out lines, personal space, and oh so much more.

In my quest to prepare for an upcoming weekend of family, I woke early Sunday morning to hit the gym before heading up to Westchester to hit the stores. (Every now and then I need a little suburbia to remind me of home.) Inside Kohl’s, Home Goods, Super Stop & Shop, and Target I ran into zooming carriages, whining kids, long lines, and mobs of people pushing and shoving. And did I once hear, “Excuse me,” “Go ahead,” or “I’m sorry, was that your toe?”

Unfortunately not.

Was it the President’s Day sales? The huge February savings? Or were they in a rush to jump-start the economy? I can appreciate 40% off just as much as the next Frugal Fanny, but it doesn’t mean we need to lose our sense of civility. Especially on a Sunday. Not for religious reasons, but because while we live in a dog-eat-dog world, there’s got to be some down time when we’re not all in competition.

In middle school I played on the tennis team. We practiced on a row of connected courts and when your ball rolled onto another court you’d yell, “Court courtesy!” and someone would happily retrieve it for you. As you can imagine, for an adolescent this saying followed us off the court. “Court courtesy!” we’d say in the hallway if you dropped a book or wanted someone to hold the door for you. To this day, the phrase pops up in my head, but now it’s with a tinge of cynicism. Like when I see adults cutting, spitting, or pushing, similar to how kids behave in middle school. And it doesn’t fill me with much hope for the future of society.

By Sunday evening, exhausted and hungry, I parked my car in the Bronx and carried my heavy bundles to the train. Of course it was packed. A boy, around eleven, was sitting in front of me, his head buried in his phone. At one point he looked at me.

“Miss,” he said and stood up. “Would you like to sit?”

Phew, I thought, settling into my seat, there is hope.

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2 Comments
  1. Rosalie Elman Olson permalink

    I was on the LA Metro one day and a tattooed bloke held the door and also waited for me to exit the car, before he exited. I was thrilled and remember that to this day, over year later! Manners/civility makes life so much more beautiful!

    Also, I find that when I wear a nice dress, men will open doors for me too. I suppose if you look (and act) like a lady, one gets treated like a lady!

  2. marcia boland-wells permalink

    Nice storyFelice, It’s like that everywhere. Now that you have a spacious apartment, can you see how it can fill up fast? I am glad you are one of the polite ones. Have a great time with the fam this weekend.

    AuntyM

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