One of my greatest flaws as I try to get along in this privileged western society that I live in is that I have a tendency to think about what affect my behaviour has on others.
It makes me unfortunately rare, I find.
I don’t run the yellow light because that forces the car turning left to wait for the red, which mean that all the cars waiting for the green will also be delayed. By running the yellow I would be negatively affecting quite a few people.
I don’t complain when I’m waiting in a long line because I know that everyone else is waiting too and complaining makes is worse for everyone.
I give up my seat on the bus if I see someone who needs it more than I do. It amazed me that when I was visibly pregnant and climbed aboard a crowded bus I would have to ask for a seat. I also got walked into so many times that I started yelling excuse me when the people who had hit me didn’t – which was nine times out of ten.
I have always tried to mindful of others and aware of my surroundings. I don’t like to be perceived as causing anyone harm or distress or inconvenience.
Now I am almost 30 and it’s starting to grate on me that others don’t give me the same thought. It seems as though every day I run in to people who just don’t care about the world around them. They take the elevator that’s supposed to be reserved for wheelchairs and strollers even though the escalator is a few steps away. They tailgate you and drive in the lane that’s ending just to try and get somewhere two minutes faster. They inconvenience me and sometimes endanger my life because somewhere along the way they decided they were more important than other people. At some point they decided that they were better than other people and some of the rules we all have to follow just don’t apply.
Twice this week I watched as a driver came too close to hitting the stroller I was pushing in front of me carrying the most precious cargo I have. One woman decided to ignore the fact that pedestrians had the right of way and started her right turn without looking for us despite the fact that we were standing right beside her. One man decided to cruise over the speed bump and hit pull up past the sidewalk to make his turn out of a parking lot without even thinking to slow down and look for anyone walking down it. Both times I was legitimately scared and angry, both times they noticed me in time and braked hard with a bit of shock and shame on their faces.
It makes me mad. It makes me mad that I have to deal with these people and still try to put my best foot forward. It makes mad that soon I’ll have to start explaining to my daughter why people do what they do, when I don’t really know.