BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

A Wave Goes a Long Way

Blurred traffic lights on a highway

How hard is it to say thank you?

More specifically, how hard is it to say thank you on the roadway?

All it takes is that split-second wave in front of your rearview mirror.

Yet for (what I perceive to be) the overwhelming majority of motorists, that’s a bridge too far.

And it drives me nuts.

Over the course of my life, I’ve learned a lot from my parents, from the importance of honesty and hard work to how to write the letter ‘p.’

But I don’t know if any of their lessons stuck with me as much as their imperative that I always say thank you.

Truthfully, I probably say it too much. I’m that guy who annoyingly signs off every email with, “Thanks!”

Sadly, though, in an unfortunate twist, my over-thanking has now made me overly sensitive in regard to people’s attitudes toward gratitude.

It’s not that I’m any sort of saint for letting someone merge.

It’s that I’m taking time out of my day, no matter how infinitesimal, to help another person along their way. And I’d appreciate being acknowledged for it.

Is that an unreasonable request in a civilized society?

Of course, now that I think about it, maybe I’m the problem.

Maybe none of this should matter. Maybe I should focus less on what others are doing and more on doing the right thing.

After all, in terms of saying thank you, isn’t that what my parents were actually teaching me?

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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