One thing you may not know about me is that I absolutely hate to drive. For most of my adult life I prided myself on finding places to live that were very urban and where I could use public transportation or just walk. When we moved to Ohio, we were back to the world of everyone in their car to go everywhere, and I can't stand it. Just once I wish I could ride a train, or metro or walk somewhere without having to hop in my car. So, when I do have to go somewhere, I try - if at all possible - to go at less busy times to avoid the mass of cars on the road.
Yesterday, as re-entry to the real world continued, I had to be in to the office rather early so I was stuck in a particularly busy time of day for traffic. Everyone's trying to get where they need to go with the added fun of some slippery roads. As you can imagine, poeple are merging, turning, slowing down yadda yadda yadda. On a particularly annoying stretch where you have to merge all into one lane otherwise you are in a turn only lane, cars routinely try and take advantage of speeding ahead in the turn only lane to get ahead of everyone else in the "normal" lane. Its the standard "cutting in line" philosophy (and, yes, on occasion, I have done this). Anyway, a car was trying to merge over in front of me and I slowed to let him in. With lights and such it became somewhat of an awkward merge and it took a couple of attempts for him to actually get over. As he finally got in front of me, he raised his hand in the simple thank you wave. Well this just made my day. In the craziness of driving it truly made me smile that he even thought to give that little salute. These days, I'm shocked when people even use their turn signals - which is not only a symbol of courtesy but also of safety - so for someone to return to the etiquette of the "thank you" was a lovely pleasant surprise. It reminded me that I need to be sure to do this every time - no matter if the person was a jerk and wasn't letting me over or whatever.
Courtesy and respect occurs at all levels of interaction - even in a merge on a Monday morning rush hour.