When you look at the picture above, you are unlikely to say that it is a picture of clean windows. You see that it is a picture of french windows, but you look at the surrounds and what you can see through the windows. However, if the windows were dirty, you would notice the dirt and, if they were really dirty, be unable to see through them. That is one of the facts of life: You don’t notice clean windows. You notice dirty windows.
Or take this picture of a couch.
You don’t look at the couch and remark on how free it is of holes and damaged fabric. That is because I have stuck patches over the awful damage that my dratted cat inflicted on this poor couch by using it as a scratching post. So, it’s like the windows: you don’t notice what is right, but when something is wrong, that is the main thing that you get fixated on.
I think it’s a bit like that with courtesy. The acts of courtesy and kindness are necessary for getting through to the more important things in relationships. You don’t really notice them until they are missing. But when courtesy is missing, it leaves ugly holes that are worse than any of the holes that the cat made in my couch.
I guess this is all saying that we have to do the ordinary and sometimes dull things of maintenance and cleaning, both in our homes and psychologically, even if these things go unremarked and not noticed. If we don’t, the consequences certainly will be noticed.