Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Demise of the Thank-You Wave and Other Thursday Thoughts (Posted on Saturday)

Is it just me, or is the thank-you wave dead?

I remember when I moved to D.C. the first time, back in the very late 1980s. I'd grown up in Utah where driving and courtesy do not always go hand in hand. So, imagine my surprise when, as a pedestrian, cars would actually yield at crosswalks or, as a driver, when I would let others merge in front of me, I'd then be rewarded with a hearty "thank you" wave.

Lately, though, I'm noticing that the thank-you wave is being given less and less and many drivers seem to care only for their own destination and the rest of us--fellow commuters and pedestrians--be damned!

I'll admit: I'm not always the world's greatest driver. I take stupid risks and engage in shoddy maneuvers. I can drive like a shithead. But I always remember, when someone has let me merge in front of them or stopped to let me cross, to give a thank-you wave and mouth the words "Thank you." That said, I'm rarely reciprocated when I extend the same courtesies.

What's up with that? Are we getting so damn lazy and self-centered, we can't even take a second or two to wave and be appreciative?!

So, hey, DC/MD/VA drivers! Yo! The next time someone let's you merge or cross the street without running you down, give a little wave. I can guarantee you, they'll be grateful.


Mean people suck. I've had a mean people week. And the worst of it is, the mean people who suck in my life this week are the last people who should be mean and suck.

Ironically, I'm actually looking forward to work on Monday for a change.


Seems lots of friends are dealing with meanness and duplicitous people these days. One friend is struggling with a relationship in ways that are ironic and painful. Another is dealing with nasty work stuff. We've been 'talking amongst ourselves,' trying to console one another and be supportive. The other day, though, one of the friends--finding herself at a loss for what to say about a certain situation--said, "I'm so sorry, but I'm just tapped out."

And that's when I realized, I'm tapped out, too.


I'm at a point where I'm ready to hang a map on the wall, throw a dart at it, see what sticks, and move to wherever the dart hits. At this stage in my tenure in D.C., I have absolutely nothing to lose, so there's no risk. This town has sucked me dry and left me a shell of my former self. And I don't like that.

I don't like feeling tapped out. I don't like this hopefully-not-permanent, piercing ache between my shoulder blades. I don't like working in fear. I don't like not being respected by people I believe should respect me. And it's all adding up and making me a not-nice person. I don't like the person I'm becoming here--bitter and angry. And tired. Very, very tired.


I keep trying to think of one thing that makes staying in D.C. worthwhile and all I can come up with is 'free museums.' It's a valid reason, I'm sure, but lame nonetheless.

The bottom line is, I think it's finally time to leave 'cause this town is a bust.


Miss Understood said...

It sounds like you need a holiday! Either that, or to shut your door and take the phone of the hook.

I hope this feeling isn't permanent, and just a little end of summer blip. x

Di said...

It's a mid-life crisis. I've been in one for over a year now, closing in on two years. All I know is, part of it IS due to surroundings (in your case, what you attribute to DC); part of it is unavoidable growing pains. If you prefer to have those pains elsewhere, then go for it. Just be realistic about what will be fixed by moving.

I'm trying to be objective, but there are Certain Things I want you to get distance from - and physical distance would certainly be a start. Hug you.

Cele said...

Do not do the dart and map thingie, I mean have you contemplated existance in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Akron, Ohio; or Jerome, Arizona? have you?

I hope you find room to breathe, a job that challenges and rewards you, I hope you find peace. Life is far too long to be stuck in a sucking the life out of you job.

Cele said...

You could try posting your postcards on a wall and throwing a dart at them?

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

You grew up in UTAH??

We have property in Beaver..
we're moving there in a few years.... we love it there.

We can't stand Vegas.

Liz said...

Wow, I can relate to this one! But you probably already knew that.

Who knows... maybe I'll just decide to stay in Ireland. I'll get a donkey, a potato field, and be quiet and happy. :)

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Ms. U: I wish all I needed was a vacation. What I need is to not work with ignoramuses (or is that ignoramii?) anymore.

Di: Ugh. I'm not ready for a mid-life crisis yet! I hear you about not being able to escape the crisis by virtue of simply leaving one place and going to another. Still, I'd like to think that dealing with a mid-life crisis would be exponentially easier if I was anywhere but here. Hell, at this stage, even Gillette, Wyoming, looks better and I've been to Gillette.

Cele: I like your idea, especially since a lovely postcard of the Oregon coast arrived today. I could live there....

Terri: Yep. Right in the heart and soul of it. Provo for 13 years and Orem for 4. Utah does have a certain beauty of its own, but I'd never want to live there again. Still, I'm glad there are others who like it. Beaver's a lovely area. Actually, I take that back. If I had to choose between Beaver and Vegas, I'd take the former. Vegas is just blech.

Liz: I totally thought of you when I wrote some of this. I LOVE your rants about crappy drivers in DC. Makes me think I should turn my old blog over to you!