Varg wrote a great post a couple of days ago regarding someone who left their car at the pumps after filling-up while going inside to use the restroom, order food, get some snacks, and look around. (blocking-off that pump entirely for the customers behind) It drew a ton of attention, and justifiably so, but it left me wondering how many people who liked it actually understood the bigger picture of what it meant with regards to personal behavior. I thought it brought up a great point on one’s social responsibility to act innocuously in public and with some responsibility for one’s affecting actions…all with having the byproduct of lessening conflict-risk. I’m going to paraphrase one of my responses here to get to the point I’m trying to make:
This is going to seem alien to many who thrive on drama, live for conflict, or generally try their best to piss on someone’s Corn Flakes (*trademarked by Kellogg’s/product-placement rewarded) whenever able, but I actively seek out social situations where I can subtly and quietly make things easier for others by doing my part to be socially responsible. Generally, by simply not being a dick. Many talk about “don’t be a dick” being a staple in modern self-defense/personal protection but few seem to actually know what that entails or how to go about it. How it’s referred to by many is in the vein of not treating people badly, offending others unnecessarily, not acting without decorum and escalating unnecessary conflict. But it’s much more than that, and most of this refuses to acknowledge the preventative aspect, the things that actually circumvent the need for de-escalation or disconnecting skills. It’s as much about “dos” as it is about “don’ts”.
I’ll give some examples. I take the express/less-than-10-items lane at the grocery store when applicable. I use my turn-signal to alert other vehicles that I’m going to actually do so. I park within the little white lines so I’m not taking up 2 spots. I don’t park in handicap even if it means (sweet Jesus) that I’m going be walking an extra 300 meters. When I leave a line to grab a forgotten item, I go to the back of the line. I put my shit on my lap on the bus when It’s filling up. When I go through the ATM drive-through or do my personal banking, I organize my wallet after I move my car and park it off to the side or step out of the active line. I let old people take my spot on the train or bus. I try not to tailgate whenever possible. Say “please” and “thank you” whenever I can to show grace and appreciation. Apologize when I slip and am that dick I work at not being. Etc. etc. etc., ad infinitum.
As a side benefit, I actually find it to be cathartic for a lot of the stupid shit I’ve done in the past that’s caused the reverse and escalated conflict entirely unnecessarily. It also flies under-the-radar, which makes me feel good for not being that dick that needs good deeds to be publicly acknowledged and omni-viewed by others to have egocentric validity.
I have never actually thought these things as being necessary or in need of being taught, as I thought it was generally a nature vs. nurture (or some fine combination thereof) issue that’s generally pre-conditioned before people come to me…yet now it got me wondering. Wondering how many times simple good manners, social etiquette, and basically being well-educated has kept people out of trouble..and the reverse being true with those without….and about whether they have a place in personal protection instruction.