A call for manners: please pick up

November 15, 2019

I would like to whole-heartedly thank Brandeis Confessions for being a wonderful source of inspiration and reminding us all about everything that is wrong with Brandeis. 

The dining hall is a particular place in desperate need of more consideration of others. I am not even talking about people who push each other during lunch and dinner rush, which honestly is bad enough. I am talking about the people who for some reason think it is OK to take off their shoes while enjoying their meal. I understand that for most people doing this at home is perfectly acceptable, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when you are at the dining hall, in a public place, it is not an OK thing to do. I also do not really like shoes, or wearing them, and there are many times a day I want to take them off. But in the dining hall, really? Do you really think people want to be looking at your bare feet? Or even better do you think really think people want to smell your feet? 

Here’s another thing that has always bothered me about people at the dining hall: It feels like there are maybe six people at Brandeis who know what a knife is, let alone how to use one. The amount of people I’ve observed push food onto their forks with theirs fingers is… concerning. Guys, come on. There was literally a utensil invented (partially) for that purpose. Why would you want to make your—already dirty—hands even dirtier?

This brings me to another point: Does anyone even wash their hands before eating? I don’t think so. And I get that the bathrooms are far away, and it is not convenient to go there, especially when you are right in the middle of lunch rush. But washing your hands before you eat is very important, especially right now while we are in the middle of flu season. Do you really want the flu? If you are still too lazy to go wash your hands before every meal, then please invest in a bottle of hand sanitizer. It isn’t as good as washing your hands, but it’s something.  

Speaking of the flu and washing your hands, almost every single time I am in a bathroom, I see someone who leaves without washing their hands. We are in college, and this is something they teach us in elementary school. Please wash your hands before you leave the bathroom; it is just not sanitary to do otherwise. Once again, do you really want to spread the flu, or carry those bathroom germs with you all day? I realize that most of us get lonely, but germs aren’t the way to go when you want company. If you don’t care about you, try to do it for other people. 

Speaking of caring for other people: When you walk in groups, please try to be a little more considerate of those who are walking on the same path. There have been so many instances when I struggled to get around huge groups of people who seem to be participating in the snail olympics. I’m glad that you all are enjoying a slow walk, but I have 10 minutes to get from Mandel to the International Business School, and I do not have time to out-slow you. You have all the rights in the world to walk slowly, but please make room for other people; it doesn’t take much. 

From slow to fast, let’s talk about the very considerate people who use their electric skateboards to get from place to place. I understand that you are just trying to move around faster, but you are usually going on sidewalks, where people, you know, walk. And your little iron-on wheels can be a major safety hazard for everyone around you. Maybe I’m crazy, but jumping out of the way of skateboarders is not my favorite thing to do. 

Speaking of jumping out of people’s way: Let’s talk about elevators. Do you remember the scene in The Lion King where Mufasa gets killed? He is trampled to death by stampeding wildebeests? Yeah, ever felt like that when exiting an elevator at Brandeis? Because I have. People really need to learn some basic elevator etiquette, but before we get to that, let’s talk about physics. An enclosed space has a limited amount of space. Therefore, it can only fit a limited amount of people. So logically, it makes sense to let the people who are already in the elevator out first, right? Yes, Brandeis students, please let people out of the elevator first and then enter. Also please do not wait three inches away from the door, no one is going to take your place in the elevator. It’s just a polite thing to do. 

So here is my proposal for the new Health and Wellness program: Offer a class on manners, safety and etiquette in general. Most of these things seem obvious, but many are things that are not often thought about. However, they are still crucial to being a member of society. So unless you’re planning on living on a deserted island (which I don’t blame you for), please take some of the aforementioned things into account. 

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