Saturday, January 28, 2006

Common courtesy

Whatever happened to common courtesy in this part of the world? Does it just not exist? Or do people loose their good manners when they move here? Case in point:

My building has a long hallway leading up to the elevators. This morning, I was heading towards the elevator and I see a man already waiting for one. So I double up my pace in order not to make the man wait too long. He sees me of course. I was about three quarters of the way through the hallway when the elevator doors open. The man enters. By the time I get to the elevator, I am surprised and disappointed to see that the elevator doors had already closed, and that the man went downstairs without me.

Just a few weeks ago, the same thing happened to me (this time, it was a lady was waiting for the elevator).

It happens in our building in A-D as well, where there are just a few meters separating the building entrance from the elevators. On numerous occasions, I have entered the building just as someone is about to enter the elevator. The person sees me, and yet he/she does not have the patience to keep the door open for 2 seconds until I get to the elevator.

Now I'd like to believe that this has nothing to do with me scaring people off to the point where they have to run away from me as soon as they see me. So why don't people wait? Will the 15 extra seconds they wait by keeping the door open really make a difference in their lives? Will it make them extra late for an appointment? Are they worried that the couch that's waiting for them in their apartments when they get home will run away, so they have to make sure they rush home to check if it's still there?

In yesterday's "Seven" magazine (6Days's Friday supplement), journalist Ali Khaled discusses a similar experience with driving:

To get to my building, you have to go past a traffic light, drive to the end of the road and do a u-turn before you can get back to the car park. This, obviously for some, unacceptable process takes no more than a couple of minutes. But no, what some of my good neighbours have decided they would do is, take a slight detour, go AGAINST the oncoming traffic and straight to the building. As these delusional, self-important people are actually returning home, what could possibly be so urgent that it can't wait an extra two minutes? [...] I, being the fine upstanding citizen that I am, of course have never felt the need to do this, particularly since I once called one of these rebels an unrepeatable name when I almost crashed head on into his car in the morning. Not once has the u-turn made me late for anything at home. And the shocker is that, like I said before, everyone is doing it: Arabs and expats alike, and I even saw a mother with her children. Shame on you woman.

So what is it with this lack of courtesy? What makes people so inconsiderate? Why are people so impatient? Be nice people! It doesn't take much, it's free, it doesn't take long, and who knows? You just might make someone's day without knowing it.


Yael K said...

There is definitely something about this part of the world that breeds impatience! I'm always wondering, "yo,where's the fire?!" On the other hand, while people can be impatient, rude, and obnoxious they can also be the most giving, warm and helpful --contradictory qualities co-existing.

Anonymous said...

Hey yael k....You haven't been to the Washington DC area I gather?....It's the same everywhere.....Even in the 'West'!

Dubai Sunshine said...

I've never experienced any elevator issues in Canada...I've only noticed it here because it has happened to me a few times now.

Chazoo said...

OH, but it happens in Canada too m'dear! I don't get it at home since I live on the ground floor, but I get it at work ALL the time. It is funny because I keep the door open for people and they seem surprided that I did it (but I must fess up, i've been guilty of the door closing syndrom too, especially when there are others in the elevator with me). To boot, my parents always taught me to let people come out before I get in - well that's a rule A lOT of people forget;in elevators, buses, metro, and more... It seems that it goes slower if everyone tries to get in and out at the same time! And the cutting in line! My god that drives me nuts! I think it is getting worse by the day!

Dubai Sunshine said...

I dunno Chazou, maybe you're right...Maybe I'm just noticing it more here. And yes, I totally agree: I also cannot stand people who don't let you get out of a bus/metro/elevator before getting in. It's one of my pet peeves!

expatriated said...

Oh - it happens everywhere. Rudeness is universal.

I was in Egypt recently at an upscale Country Club - I, an American, was with an Egyptian friend (who is the member of the club) and her small daughter having a nice afternoon lunch.

A British woman actually came over to our table, interrupted our waiter who was taking our tell him what she wanted him to bring to her table.

I was shocked...but nobody else seemed to be, so I kept quiet.

Rudeness is everywhere and quite accepted unfortunately...