A little consideration can go a long way
Today, I need to vent and talk about my pet peeves. It all boils down to one thing: Consideration for others or, rather, a lack of it. Let me start with a few examples.
You are in a multi-story car park. It is a weekend or a holiday and you simply know that the mall will be full of joyous holidaymakers seeking a pastime to fritter the day away. Or it is a day like any another, except you have a list of errands as long as your arm and time is of the essence; you just know that you will be in a hurry for everything. Searching for a space, your eyes look up for that all-familiar green light that says there is a space available, only to find that some inconsiderate person’s car is badly parked, spreading to the adjacent space and making it totally unusable. Over and over again, this repeats itself throughout the car park, leaving you circling all levels, increasing the fumes and the heat — and therefore pollution — in this enclosed and stuffy low-ceilinged area, as well as wasting valuable time.
You are in a hurry, walking at a certain speed on a pavement wide enough to accommodate three to four people. A group of people ahead of you decides that the pavement belongs to them and takes up the whole space, walking side-by-side, making you either slow down to their pace until an opening makes itself available, or get into the road and face oncoming cars to overtake them.
You have an appointment, are going to a meeting or doing some shopping, when the way is blocked all of a sudden because the person ahead of you decided that this is an appropriate time to send a text message, take a selfie or chat with a friend in a doorway or corridor, making you brake sharply, almost physically bumping into them.
You call to make an appointment and no one picks up, over and over again. If you are lucky, the phone is answered — by an automated recording. If the phone is answered by a human being, the receptionist says he or she will call back to confirm your request. And you wait … and wait … and wait, but it never happens.
You are in a waiting room or at a restaurant or the cinema, anywhere there is a little silence, when the person across from you decides to chew irritatingly loudly. The same applies to all those people chewing gum in an infuriating manner or crunching popcorn as noisily as possible.
You are patiently waiting in line at the supermarket or a booth to buy tickets, or at a reception desk to organize an appointment or a booking. The queue is long. People are sighing and huffing out of frustration, but nevertheless waiting as patiently as possible for their turn. And, suddenly, someone confidently strides along, decides that waiting is not a requirement for them and cuts into the line. Usually, they are asked to wait their turn, but sometimes they are served, much to the anger of all those waiting. Is it because they are a younger model of those waiting, or a better-looking version, perhaps?
You are in your car going to work in the morning when, at the traffic lights, you look around and see someone opening the window to throw something out into the street.
The list is endless, and the examples annoying, if not frustrating. All it says about the people in question is that they are inconsiderate and selfish because all they think about is themselves and their comfort, regardless of those around them or their needs. It also says that we have lost a lot of the values and ethics that subconsciously control the way people live together. In addition, they are bad examples to their children, showing them that it is normal not to think of others when, in fact, this is unacceptable.
If we all showed a little more consideration and respect, not only to others but also to rules and regulations, our world would be a better place and our children would take with them the basic principles that will be passed on to future generations.
• Hoda Al-Helaissi has been a member of the Shoura Council since 2013 and is also a member of its foreign affairs committee.