Kenny Bodanis lays down a few ground rules for living in a world with other people.
A guy was supposed to meet me at 2pm. He called at 2:15 to let me know he was running 45 minutes behind schedule. That kind of stuff really gets my goat. But, I blog, therefore I am:
1 – If you’re going to be late, call before you’re scheduled to arrive:
You same people are always late. If you’re due somewhere at noon, you damn well know at 11:30 you’re not gonna make it…call at 11:30! A phone call fifteen minutes after you’re expected to arrive is just plain selfish.
2 – Email does not replace a phone call:
You know you’re too embarrassed to call. You don’t want to be made to feel guilty, or to have to listen to the sadness in my voice as I waste away at a Starbucks pretending I have enough email and text messages to keep me busy alone at my table; so you email or text instead of call. Then you hope I cool off before you get here. That’s just plain chicken s&*”. Guilt and remorse are your punishments for not calling thirty minutes earlier. Feel them, brother.
3 – Be courteous first, not only in response to courtesy:
When you are the last of ten people in line at a grocery store, and a second cash opens, don’t trample the people in front of you. Let the line divide itself and accept your new position as fifth in line instead of tenth (still better by half!). See the guy who rushed to be first at the new cash? He’s avoiding eye contact with you because he feels guilty. Besides, it’s probably that cashier who has to deal with lottery tickets and bottle returns; you’ll still beat him out the door.
5 – Signal when you change lanes:
Instead of slowing down, frightening the person behind you (who would just loooove to rear-end you, except for the financial and legal ramifications of doing so) and looking over your shoulder at a rate which would make a hummingbird puke: signal. I will then notice your intention to pull into my lane (always the fastest moving one), and consequently I will slow down….for three or four seconds.
6 – Once in the passing lane, PASS!:
That’s why it’s the passing lane. That’s why I’m tailgating you. That’s why he’s tailgating me. That’s why she’s tailgating him…(I know, trucks are scary. They’re even scarier when you cruise right next to them for two miles….pass it, already!)
7 – Turn off your phone, completely:
At the movies, in the theatre, in the restaurant. Can we have two hours without electronic interruption? BTW: the movie is about two hours long (exact times of hundreds of films are available on thousands of websites). When– in a dark room — you use your phone to check the time, not only does it close my pupil and reduce the image quality being sent to my brain; it snaps me out of my Jennifer Connelly fantasy so fast it would make a goat puke.
7a – Don’t let your five-year-old daughter play with your smart phone during a piano recital:
I apologize. I was devastated; I didn’t know the app she activated triggered music. It will never happen again. I know: some people…sheesh.
8 – Wipe the seat:
Do unto the public washroom as you would have done unto the public washroom. You know you missed your target: clean it! You know when you walk into a dirty stall you then comment to your friend about the pigs in this world: ‘how could anyone leave a stall looking like that?’ You’re a hypocrite. ..One big I-shoulda-used-that-weird-toilet-seat-cover-and-thrown-it-away-then-I-wouldn’t-have-to-clean-anything hypocrite.
9 – Don’t roll your eyes at my kids:
I know eating lunch on that dirty toilet seat would be more agreeable than standing next to my family during their current tantrum. I know you think I have a troubled home. I know I should leave the cart I spent the last two hours filling so I wouldn’t have to come back to the store for a week (read: tomorrow, after I realize I forgot milk) and go home. But, trust me. I’m doing my best, and their usually really good kids. (Quick, don’t analyze that last part…move on to number 10).
10 – Answer my emails:
Not the same day, or even the next day. But, I think forty-eight hours is fair. Doesn’t have to be a long answer, or even the right answer, but a “Got it.”, or “I’ll think about it”, or “Your email submission has been received; though our budget/editorial profile is not interested in new submissions (i.e. your idea) at the moment, we will keep it on file. Thank you for writing.” You know, B.S. me…I don’t mind. At least I won’t resubmit.
11 – At least acknowledge my pain:
Whether you’re a friend, colleague, or customer service agent (hello to my overseas readers); when I talk to you about how much something sucks, just start with a “Wow, how horrible for you.” Then put me on hold, or discretely check the time on your phone….
Any annoyances you’d like to add? In the comment section, please. I have a feeling this list is the first in a series.
Photo—Businessman screaming from Shutterstock