I’ve come into contact with a lot of tourists this summer. And sometimes it was physical. A woman backed up into me last night while taking a group photo. So focused was she on getting the perfect picture from just the right panoramic angle, that it never occurred to her that there were other people out on a Saturday night at this crowded street mall and that if she kept moving backwards she might just run into one of them!

Actually I exaggerated. She didn’t actually hit me – because I jumped out of the way at the last minute when I realized that my naïve assumption that she would stop before crashing into me was in fact incorrect.

Of course this was a minor inconvenience, if that. But it definitely made an impact. As I sat back and watched everyone moving around me, I noticed that this woman’s behavior was not unusual. Most people were behaving with complete oblivion to the existence of anyone else around them. If they wanted to go somewhere, they went – straight ahead, whether they crashed into someone or not. It reminded me of a game we used to play as children, “We don’t stop for anybody”.

It’s one thing if it would only be packs of teenagers behaving this way. It sort of comes with the territory. No one is more self- centered or oblivious to the needs of others than adolescents. We tolerate it because we assume it’s a phase they will grow out of.

We are less tolerant when it’s adults who manifest the same behavior. We expect more – some thoughtfulness and consideration, and not being stepped on, pushed through or jostled out of the way. Am I just being unrealistic?

Sometimes when I see a very impatient driver, I’m struck by the thought that their speed and impatience and negligent driving probably doesn’t even save them any time, and if it did, it’s tops a few seconds. For those few seconds, is it worth being rude or nasty or fool-hardy? Is it worth risking your life?

We are not alone in the world. We are not the center of the world. Other people are not here to serve us. If that woman would have instead waited until we passed or reconciled herself to a less than perfect picture in order to demonstrate kindness and sensitivity towards others, her children would have left with a memory of their trip that no photo, however good, could possibly capture.