I got into a bit of a rant this afternoon and decided to turn my frustration into resolutions.
Really easy resolutions.
Simple things we can all do to make the world a more pleasant place - so we'll all be happier and more serene. And if we're happier and calmer we probably will be a lot less likely to need a cigarette, to drink too much or eat too much. We'll be nicer to our family and friends. We'll be more productive at work.
We won't need any more resolutions.
Probably most of you already do these things. But some of us don't.
So - for the person whose coffee cup I picked up in the street this morning - this list's for you. For the guy who sped by and drenched me as I stood on the sidewalk - here's a few resolutions for you. For the person talking on their cell phone this afternoon while the counterperson tried to take their coffee order - time to turn over a new leaf.
I will not litter. I will not throw my scratch tickets on the ground even if they're not winners. I'll find a pocket for that empty cigarette pack. I'll keep my coffee cup until I find a trash barrel - even if it's the wastebasket in my own house.
I will hold doors open for others. And stop pretending that I don't realize they're behind me.
I will thank the person who holds a door open for me. Even if I secretly think that they live to serve me.
I will let people out in traffic. Even though it's not their turn. Even though I've been stuck in this traffic jam for ages and they're just leaving the gas station or parking lot.
I will thank people who let me out into traffic. Even though they are just giving me my due I will wave wildly - more than once - so they are sure to know that I have thanked them.
I will not run red lights. Or stop signs. Even when nobody is coming the other way.
I will always use my blinkers. I will use my blinkers to signal an upcoming turn, not to explain why I just stepped on the brakes. I will use my directionals when I'm waiting to be let into traffic so the drivers will know where I'm going. I will use my directionals so that the person behind me realizes that this is a left-turn lane and doesn't discover it only when my car pulls forward revealing the left turn only arrow painted on the road. If my wheels will be turning my blinker will be flashing.
I will put on my headlights when it is raining. Or foggy. Or dark for that matter.
I will not use my local streets as speedways. No matter how appealing the straightaway. Even though I'm in a hurry. Even though I have this big, hulking powerful machine and the ads make it look like so much fun.
I will keep my eyes on the road when behind the wheel. Not on my phone. Not on my lunch. Nor my newspaper.
I will stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. But not for pedestrians who have a Don't Walk signal even if it is a crosswalk - that would be stupid. They will get their turn. And I will not gun my engine when they're just barely out of reach.
I will be a good pedestrian. If I'm in a crosswalk I will not dawdle. If I jaywalk I will do so only if nobody is coming. And I will make it snappy.
I will obey the rules of the road when I am on my bicycle. Even though I really want to have it all ways I will accept that I can only have it one way. And even if some crazy, misguided legislators made riding two or three abreast allowable I will not do so. Because it is rude.
I will give up my seat on the bus or subway to my elders. And to pregnant women. To anybody, no matter their age, who looks like they might otherwise keel over. And I will not bury my head in my book in order to pretend that I do not see them.
I will only use my phone when appropriate. Not in the movie theater - even if the movie hasn't started. Not at the counter or cash register when others are waiting on me or waiting for me. Not in church. Not in class. Not in the office meeting.
I will make the world a better place. One small act of common decency and courtesy at a time.