Example 1: A week or so ago, I was in line to get gas at one of the only local places that pumps for you and is relatively cheap. Based on these criteria, it's generally pretty crowded there. I noticed a two-pumper where the car in front was pulling away. I threaded my car between the car at the rear pump and one in the next aisle, pulled the lever to open my little gas door, and waited for the attendant. He appeared a moment later and I lowered my window to ask for him to fill it, regular.
Instead, he told me I'd actually cut the line. I apologized and asked him to close my gas door as I placed the car back in Drive. As I did so, the woman I'd inadvertently cut hung out the driver's side of her Buick and yelled "Hey, Asshole! Move your car!". The attendant kindly informed her that I didn't know and was moving - and that there was no need to swear. She responded with "Oh. Never mind." while I circled around to take my place behind her, remaining silent.
Example 2: I was at Stop and Shop just past Frozen Corn, guiding my shopping car into the hairpin turn toward Orange Juice and English Muffins. As happens all the time at the grocery store, I nearly collided with another shopper coming the opposite way. I smiled the polite apology smile and he mutters "Jesus-Fucking-Christ" under his breath.
The economy is improving at a snail's pace, we're at war, and people are shooting congress members and ordinary citizens with automatic weapons at supermarkets. It's damn cold. Around here, we've got at least three feet of solid ice piled up along every roadside and driveway. New storms have been coming in with a frequency of about once a week. I get it.
But is this what it's come down to? I mean, I'm from Boston. In a recent survey, we were voted the sixth rudest city in America. I can take it. But is this how we want to treat one another? Is this what we want our kids to see and think is normal?
I just need to put it out there and hope that if enough of us do, more will come around: