The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Common Courtesy

As I boarded my plane Monday morning, with 15 minutes to spare, I was a little stressed at the whole rush rush rush that I had dealt with that morning (par for the course for my recent Monday mornings). Relieved to have made my flight, but still stressed about getting settled into my seat before take off, I rearranged the overhead bins so that I could cram my carry on into one of them to avoid checking any bags (baggage claim must be avoided at all costs).

Once that was done successfully, (Phew!), I squeezed into my middle seat and dropped my laptop bag (my heavy laptop bag) at my feet to squish it underneath the seat in front of me. One little problem, the woman in the window seat next to me had her foot in the drop zone of my laptop bag, in my section of the feet area. My laptop bag landed right on her foot. Right on her sprained foot.

"Oh my gosh, I am SOOOO sorry."
"My foot is sprained." was her annoyed reply
"From that? Just now? I'm so sorry"

Now, I knew full well that my laptop bag dropping on her toe didn't sprain her foot, but it was the only thought I could verbalize after being completely miffed by her failure to accept or acknowledge my sincere apology. She didn't even crack a smile. Her abrupt manner caused me to conclude that she must not be from here (Michigan). She must be from there (New York).

Sure enough, when we landed at LaGaurdia airport, she jumped on her BlackBerry to announce "Hi, I'm back from vacation, I just landed."

Surely not all New Yorkers are as rude as she was. But, I've run into a LOT who are.

I wonder how long it would take for me to harden against this unreciprocated courtesy? I try to be polite. I smile and say please and thank you., excuse me and after you. If I'm lucky, I'll get a grunt or a nod in reply. Will I soon be grunting instead of saying Good Morning or Hi, how are you? Maybe, if I kill 'em with kindness, there will be a change in NY manners, maybe THEY will start to be more like me, and soften against my example of common courtesy...I'm not holding my breath.

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