Dear fellow Concordians,
Remember that old Golden Rule (also called the ethic of reciprocity)? It’s pretty good stuff, and it works for folks of any and all faiths and philosophies, too.
Here’s a refresher. It has two essential forms:
1. Treat other people the way you’d like to be treated.
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2. Don’t treat others as you wouldn’t like to be treated.
Fellow residents, this rule has been much on my mind.
When I moved to Concord almost a quarter-century ago, I frequently remarked on local driving habits. I had been living in Charlotte, where politeness seemed at a premium for people when behind a wheel.
Here in Concord, I would note to my husband, Ralf, that folks didn’t honk at me at every opportunity. Driving was a pleasant, even relaxing affair. Drivers treated me as I would want to be treated. They treated me as they surely wanted to be treated.
It was very nice. They observed the Golden Rule.
Now I wonder. Had I come to a subjective, inaccurate, wholly misguided conclusion? Maybe I was driving down all the right streets. Maybe I was just driving at just the right times of day.
Here’s the strange new reality I have been trying to understand: A palpable impatience. Nasty looks. Honking. Illegal maneuvering.
I’ve experienced all three at many different times of day and night, on different days of the week, and for about three-quarters of a year at exactly the same place: The formerly broken bridge.
The broken bridge was on Burrage Road. For many, many months, workers have been tearing down and rebuilding that bridge.
During their work, work signs have been posted. So was a stop sign, somewhat in advance of the intersection of Burrage and Bradley roads.
The sign seems awkwardly placed, but I suspect it stands before that intersection because workers sometimes inhabit the intersection.
I imagine folks wanted to protect the good people who are engaged in giving us back our bridge and safe passage up the street toward the hospital and town and other good things in our environs.
I admit that the work is taking a long time.
But I want to trust in the likely reason: People want this bridge to be safe. So I try to remain patient, note the work’s progress, and dream of the future convenience of having it back in new and improved form.
Ralf and I are apparently rather odd ducks. We stop at the stop sign. (Actually, we stop at stop signs in general.)
Over the past three-quarters of a year, folks have charged us from behind, honked at us and even illegally driven around us (and the stop sign) on their way to the good things in our environs.
People in front of us routinely ignore the stop sign. At best, they slow down for the right turn.
We are baffled. Do our fellow residents stop at the other stop signs along their route? Do they think this one is unnecessary and simply decide, on their own, to ignore it?
(By the by, police folk, you could be issuing oodles of tickets at this corner each and every day. I know, of course, that there are much more important things to do, but I thought I’d mention it all the same.)
If I put up a banner at that corner that read not “stop” but “Remember the Golden Rule,” might folks cease giving me dirty looks for stopping at the stop sign?
Wondering, and hopefully,