The other day I was walking down the street when another woman bumped right into me. I was carrying a heavy shoulder bag, which slipped off my arm when she jostled me. I was quite startled and looked back at the woman, expecting her to say “excuse me” at the very least. But no—she just kept charging down the street without so much as a glance in my direction. The woman was older, but that is still no excuse for such rude behavior. All I could was pick up my belongings, compose myself, and shake my head.
Basic civility means respecting other people’s space, not charging along and expecting other people to get out of our way. It means stepping to the side when we’re waiting for the elevator or train doors to open, to make way for any exiting passengers. It means standing on the right side of an escalator so that those in a hurry can pass on the left. It means observing the rules of the road so that we and our fellow drivers are safe.
And if, for some reason, you accidentally bump into someone or block their way, it means having the courtesy to at least apologize or check that the other person is okay. If we let that courtesy lapse, we slowly begin to chip away at the civility in our society. Do we really want to live in a world in which it’s acceptable to bump into innocent bystanders without a word of concern? I sure don’t!