Despite what your sickeningly proud pageant mom told you, you are no more important than the person sitting beside you on the train. The person stuck in front of you in traffic. Or the poor soul trying to squeeze in the middle seat of coach on a five-hour flight. You’re no one.
All of us have our problems – each person’s the same or if not worse than the next. Be it health, financial, personal, legal or forced to fork out $5 for a shit coffee. Yeah, cabs are a rip-off and cabbies often surly. But you think when the Year 2 teacher asked little Tommy what he wanted to be when he grew up, he raised his tiny hand and replied eagerly, “cab driver”? No. Did little Jan want to be a server at a shitty cafe? Nah-uh. Did young immigrants in war-torn countries lay awake at night dreaming of becoming parking inspectors in Sydney? Fuck no. The point is, we’re all in this together – for richer or poorer. So instead of being narcissistic, inconsiderate, selfish pricks, let’s take a little effort to make the lives of people around us—strangers and family alike—a little easier, and in turn, improve quality of living for us all.
1. Walk with urgency. Drive with patience. But stay the fuck out of the fast lane.
Pedestrians hate drivers and drivers hate pedestrians. Thing is, we are all both at some stage of the day. So if you’re crossing the crosswalk, pick up the pace so the frustrated drivers can beat the light. And if you’re stuck in traffic, accept it and don’t be the cutting-off, weaving dick who thinks their time is more valuable than everyone else around them. However, if you’re the one actively slowing traffic, pull the fuck over or put the foot down.
2. Leave the bathroom as if you were never there in the first place.
Every office has one. The phantom bathroom destroyer who one can only assume takes some sick pleasure in smearing shit on the walls, not flushing and leaving an assortment of personal hygiene products – there’s an oxymoron – scattered on the tiles. I mean, where the hell were you potty trained – at an NRL Origin camp? Even cats bury their own shit. Have some common decency and flush as you deploy and clean up after yourself.
3. Have some self-awareness and give others their personal space
Just because you got there late doesn’t mean it needs to be the problem of the people in front of you. You have no right to impede their view of the stage, the TV or the space they’ve been enjoying at the beach for the three hours previous. Foresight is a quality too many self-indulgent morons lack.
4. Stop claiming cafe seats and pool chairs if you’re not immediately using them.
This goes hand in hand with No.3. How many times have you gotten to the resort pool or beach chairs only to find towels covering them but not a person in sight? I use to attribute it to German tourists but it’s now become an epidemic of plague proportions. This same rule can be applied to the gym or a cafe: Use it or lose it.
5. Offer to help. And if you offer to help someone out, do it.
“Sure, man. I’d be happy to sit down and discuss the industry.” Or “I’ll put you in touch with them for sure.” Or “Happy to help you move”. We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it. Few come through with it or see it come to fruition. We all find ourselves in times of need. Offer help when others are in the position and you’ll enjoy the fruits later. And for those of you inherently selfish, ignoring the question or flat-out refusing makes you even more of a dick.
6. Put your damn earphones in.
No matter how interesting you find that video, or how good the song is, the people around you couldn’t give a shit. They have their own issues. So invest a few dollars in earphones. Now we can all be confined to our own personal misery without having more heaped upon us.
7. Shut your mouth when you eat and no chips in the workplace or cinema, god damn it.
FFS. Anyone who can’t abide by these common courtesies is a mouth-breathing simpleton with a complete and utter disrespect for the eyes and ears of their colleagues, friends, family and fellow movie goers. It’s bad enough being confined to small spaces with other people without having to watch and or hear them eat, crunch, chew, hock, spit and slurp.
8. Reply to texts and emails. I know you saw it.
Everyone under the age of 40 has their phone on them always and in their hands more frequently than their respective packages. So when I can’t have a conversation with you on account of you being engrossed by your phone yet you don’t reply to my text for four hours but can still post on Insta, I know you saw it, asshole. The “polite ignore” is a thing of fiction. So reply. Especially to those closest who know your schedule. It could save a friendship.
9. Don’t be a queue-jumping dick
Fashionably late doesn’t apply to queues. Even if you know three Rolling Stones songs, bought a tongue t-shirt from Hot Topic and gave Keith Richards’ son head once, it doesn’t make your plight for tickets any more important than the people who have been standing there for four hours waiting for tickets. Take your place in the back of the line, stand to the left.
10. Airplane ethics
If you’re over the age of zero and under the age of 80, you’ve been on a plane at least once. So act like it. Empty your pockets, remove your laptop and accessories and ditch the shoes before you get to security. And check your giant bag. Save us all the hassle of onboard tetris. And if you’re on a cheap airline where it’s first-in best dressed, move to the side or middle if it means people travelling together can sit together. And only adjust the seat back halfway.
All in all, it comes down to commons sense, courtesy, decency and consideration. Stand to one side on the escalator and let others pass. Pull to the other lane in traffic and let others enter. Use an indicator. And be nice to one another. Sure, you’re gonna wanna beat some people with your MacBook. But take a breath. And remember, you’re no more important than they are. Unless you’re Jack Nicholson.