Common courtesy is absent
February 22, 2007
In the fifth week of the semester, most students are nervous or cramming for midterms and, if you are like me, sick to death of the dreary winter weather. While this combination among other stressors can cause a person to have an underlying feeling of frustration as they go about their daily lives, I think it is important to provide a reminder about being kind to one another.
Now, I have to admit, most of this column idea came to me after being royally chewed out while I was working by a customer for something I had no control over. (I am sure anyone who works in customer service can appreciate this situation.) After this unpleasant experience, I thought it would be a good idea to make a point to notice the way people treat each other.
In all honesty, I was shocked by what I saw. In general, people are quite rude to one another on a day-to-day basis. Why is this? Doesn’t it seem strange that the simple act of holding a door for someone is something that a person rarely sees?
According to the Web site, www.rudebusters. com, which obviously has a lot to say about this topic, the problem of rudeness is one that is plaguing America. The Web site features the words of former American Psychologial Dr. Frank Farley, who has this to say about the state of kindness in our country: “What’s going on? We’re rude and we’re mean: there’s road rage, air rage, cell phone rage, checkout rage, bike rage, sports rage, parking rage, rail rage, bank rage, roller rage, boat rage, desk rage, car alarm rage and drivers who even honk at people on crutches. And according to one expert, there’s also funeral rage - people actually flip the bird and cut off funeral processions.”
Although what he has to say may seem shocking, the sad part is that it is true. While this problem is widespread, it can be applied to UW-River Falls. Unfortunately, I can say that I have seen too many instances of students being rude on campus.
Think about how many times custodians have been ignored when they clean a blackboard before class begins - is it that hard to say hello? Another instance of our localized rudeness epidemic is when people brush past the clerks at the University Center when they are buying something to eat. In the countless times I have been in the checkout line, I rarely see students at least attempt to make conversation with the clerk who tells them to have a good day or stay warm.
Why is returning the favor of a kind message so difficult?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not always a beacon of kindness and I understand people have bad days but, that is no excuse for being rude to a person even in the smallest ways of not holding a door for someone or talking on your cell phone so loud in the library that the people studying around you cannot focus.
While the threat of midterms can cause stress, there is no need to take it out on the people around you. Without trying to sound too preachy, if everyone tried to do something nice every day, maybe our problem of rudeness could be helped.
Even at UWRF, kindness could increase with small changes, such as if drivers with permits would park on their side of the street instead of grabbing a spot from the side of the road open for all commuters, or if those who leave their garbage where they were sitting in the University Center, for someone else to pick up, had a revelation and found a trash can.
Small acts like this will not change the world but, it would make it a more pleasant and kind place to be.