Monday, 3 December 2012

The Season of Goodwill?

As its December now, and in the Crummy Household, out Christmas tree is up, the lights have been hung and the hall has been decked (!), things are getting festive!

This time of year brings with it many appeals for help to those less fortunate, the Rotary Club Shoebox appeal, local food banks, and even people blogging about random acts of kindness they plan to carry out during the festive period.  Now I’m all for this, after all it IS the season of goodwill to all men…..

But it also got me thinking….  How about as well as the more obvious charitable giving and wishes for peace on earth – how about we all conspire to lead a life less selfishly?  This time of year, as we approach the last few frantic shopping days before Christmas, and travel on the ever congested roads and through airports, ferry ports and train stations wouldn’t it be a much nicer experience if we all did it with more courtesy, more happiness and a little more care for our fellow man?

This wish and desire for us all to be a bit less selfish, abrasive and just plain horrible to one another I guess stems from my recent experience in a local carpark one morning.  I had parked, my not so small Crummy Mobile, in one space over from the trolley park. So there is the trolley park, a vacant space and then me.  I always like this space, because given the choice, who in their right mind wants to park between the behemoth that is the Crummy Mobile and the unforgiving iron railings of the trolley park?  It therefore means that the space is more than likely to remain vacant for the time I am there – meaning I can get my rear passenger door open to get the Wilburbeast in and out of the car safely, without a squeeze and without scratching any vehicles.  Even if the space is not vacant, it’s likely that it will be a small car in there – meaning I can still get the rear door open.  Now I know what you are all thinking, that I sound like I have a HUGE sense of entitlement over this space….. I quite frankly don’t care if someone parks there, its up to them, and I will get the Wilburbeast in and out somehow - after all the person who has parked there doesn’t know I have a small child to put in… however it was what happened next on this particular day that got my goat.  I had returned to my car, and noticed that the space next to me was still empty!  Yay!  So I opened the rear door, parked  the buggy, and the Wilburbeast and proceeded to load the car…. While I was doing so, I noticed a man gesticulating from a car in the carpark – I thought the buggy was in his way and preventing him from driving past so I moved it.  Big Mistake.  He then proceeded to reverse into the space – causing me to react like lightning to slam the door otherwise he would have taken it off – and then he “straightens up” so he has enough room to open his door (on the side of the trolley park).  This means I now cannot open my door at all to get the Wilburbeast in.  I pointed this out as the gentle(!)man got out of his car…. To which he said “What’s the matter with you , you can use the other side!”  ARGH!  It was so frustrating as he swanned off to do his shopping, leaving me to manhandle the Wilburbeast through a narrow gap (yep the car the OTHER side of me was parked close too!) and across Miss Bags’ (thankfully empty) car seat and into his own.  He is not a light boy anymore, and I am not a contortionist.  Anyway, my point is – in a carpark that was half empty – WHY did that man have to have that space (even if it was the closest empty one to the shops), and WHY couldn’t he wait the 2 minutes it would have taken me to strap Wilburbeast in his seat and shut the door?  It is this blatant level of “me, me, me” selfishness that is becoming all the more prevalent in our society that I find really disconcerting.

Maybe I am too nice, I spend time holding doors for others, waiting patiently for lifts in shopping malls and allowing those in wheelchairs to go in front of me. I park courteously when I am on the school run – I don’t block others in or block driveways, I smile and say please and thank you.  I don’t push to be first, I keep my children under a semblance of control in public, and I don’t park in disabled bays!  I am far from a saint – but maybe – just maybe if we all started smiling more, rushing less and thinking more about how our actions (rushed parking, queue jumping etc) affect others the world might be a better place!  Go on – give it a try…..