Taking courtesy too far?


Quirk (noun) :   1. An abrupt twist or curve.  2.  A peculiar trait

Thus is the impetus of “Quirk Week” illuminated as we spend the next few days examining the idiosyncracies that make me the lovable guy I am.  Now, read on…

I am a courteous man.  In fact, I will go so far as to say I am a very courteous man (and regular readers know just how much I loathe the words “very” and “really”).  It’s possible I may take courtesy a bit too far, but I’ll let you judge.

First, let me make sure you understand that I had great tutors in the world of courtesy.  Mom, Dad, Grams, Gramps…they all stressed the importance of courtesy, respect and manners.  Here are some examples:

– I always hold doors for people who are just behind or just ahead of me going in and out of stores.  I make no distinction to age or gender.  I do make that distinction when…

– I hold the door to the car open for any female I am driving.  Occasionally for a male if there is a physical issue (age, injury, etc.).

– I wipe my feet before entering any doorway, even at a place like McDonald’s or Wal-Mart.

– I always say “please” and “thank you”.

– I always place a napkin on my lap.

– I always say “excuse me” after a burp.

– I always sneeze or cough into my sleeve, not my hand (since you never know if you’ll need that hand to greet someone)

– I always say “bless you” to anyone who sneezes, even strangers in a crowd.

– I always call the waiters/waitresses/cashiers/etc. by their first names (I ask, if there is no name tag)

– I put my cell phone on silent when I am in a restaurant (I prefer not to answer a call when I’m with someone else, except for family).

It takes dedication and practice to be consistent at courtesy, just like anything else you want to be good at.  This can occasionally lead to excesses.  For example, I will say “excuse me” at home alone when I burp (although I don’t say “bless you”, if I sneeze).  And I have caught myself sometimes wiping my feet as I leave the house (a Pavlovian reaction to seeing the welcome mat?).

My behavior sometimes causes strange reactions.  Saying “excuse me” on the tennis courts amidst sweating, cursing guys in the throes of competition can cause a raised eyebrow.  Stopping to wipe your feet before you enter a movie theater has generated similar odd looks.

I don’t know.  It’s ingrained in who I am, so it doesn’t seem that bizarre to me.  But, I leave it up to you…do I take courtesy too far?

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