As I bounced around Newport this week running errands, surfing this little swell that’s here, and driving down our city streets, I couldn’t think about anything but manners.
I thought about the people that have great manners, but even more about the people with a glaring lack of manners.
Courtesy shouldn’t be something you have to force people into, it should be innate. Politeness and the “golden rule” should be no-brainers.
Arthur Ashe once said, “Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”
Not only do I second that sentiment, I treat it as a life motto.
For example, while driving off the Peninsula and towards our office in Corona del Mar on Wednesday, I turned right off of Newport Blvd. and prepared to merge onto PCH. After looking down the road to see if anybody was approaching, I continued down the ramp and merged onto the highway.
Right then a crazed motorist stepped on the gas behind me going about 60 m.p.h. and began tailgating me as if to show me that he wasn’t happy with me driving on his road. I looked in my rearview mirror as he shrugged his shoulders asking me, “What the hell are you doing?”
I could’ve waived him a 1-finger salute, but instead, I simply changed lanes to avoid a headache and continued my day in a good mood.
Another example this week of my good mannered way prevailing over somebody’s rude actions was when I went surfing early Thursday morning. I had a couple of hours to kill, so I figured with a little swell rising, I’d jump in the water for a bit.
I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life, and I basically grew up in the ocean, so the rules of the water are like second nature to me and rarely have I had an incident.
So I paddled out, sat in the lineup for a few waves, and when the first set came through, I waited for the back half of it to let the guys who had been out there all morning get the first ones. To my dismay, I was undercut and hopped by some guy who just paddled out minutes before the set, and not only did he ruin my wave, I didn’t even get a, “My bad,” or a, “Sorry, didn’t see you.”
He just went about his business like nothing happened.
Is it so hard to just be polite? Can’t we all hold doors open for people, say please and thank you at all times, let people make left turns on the road, not scream into our cell phones in public places, ask before we act, and order food with, “Can I have…” not, “Give me…”
Those little pleasantries go a long way and let you look yourself in the mirror and be truly proud of how you treat people regardless of who they are. Try wearing a smile instead of a scowl and see how far it gets you.
You’ll be amazed.