The Collegian
Thursday, November 30, 2023

A voice of reason: guide to campus etiquette

Picture this: You're waiting in line at the Pier the person behind you is undoubtedly too close, and the girl in front is probably holding up the line while she texts her four BFFs about all her homework. During your wait, the bagel in the toaster goes up in flames while its owner flirts with the girl from his French class. The smoke sends you into an asthma attack. Quickly, you and your Converse sneaks run out those awesome new sliding glass doors, into the fresh air.

Sadly, you lost your place in line and you're still hungry. It's 7:57 p.m. After running through the rain, past the chapel, you walk into the dining hall, where you slip in a puddle created by those students who refuse to wipe their feet — SWRWFs, we'll call them. It's 8:01 p.m. Nope, sorry, D-Hall's closed.

So, with an empty stomach and a bruised tailbone, you set off for the 8:15 at Boatwright. On your way you pass a short person who accidentally pokes you in the eye with the spoke of her umbrella. But, half blind, you eventually get a bagel and a coffee.

Unfortunately, while putting cream in your coffee, someone bumps your elbow, causing you to spill your freshly brewed, searing-hot drink on your not-so-hot-beverage-resistant pants. Ouch. To counteract the heat you run out through the library doors, into the cold air, where you are enveloped in a cloud of second-hand smoke, in which your asthma finally gets the best of you. You go into respiratory failure. Before the medics reach you, you've breathed your last breath. Sayonara.

What's the problem with all that (aside from your death)? Well, it comes down to etiquette. Emily Post, author of the best-seller "Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home," wrote about it, and we apparently failed to read it. Yea, we mind our p's and q's, but do we use our noggins to look out for people around us?

I'm no Emily Post, but I've got foolproof tips for improving our etiquette in some of campus' most crucial environments. In order to avert disaster, this column ought to be taken very seriously.

This week: The Library.

No. 1 — No smoking immediately in front of the library doors. If you should choose to significantly increase your chances of lung cancer while simultaneously destroying your lung capacity by smoking cigarettes, cigars or any other flaming object, please do not do it immediately in front of the library doors. Even more specifically, do not use your smoky friends to create an unavoidable wall of smoke in front of the library doors.

This request is not meant as an insult to smokers — I'm not here to judge your disregard for lungs — but rather, this request is meant to drastically improve the lives of the nonsmokers who think cigarettes stink, and the asthmatics.*

No. 2 — No loitering in the coffee shop. Loiterers, you're clogging it up, slowing the whole place down. Coffee shops that sell Starbucks products are all about efficiency, but these days a thirsty person can barely get to their coffee because of all the bystanders chatting it up in the "wait zone."

And once a drinker grabs his/her coffee, getting across to the cream and out the door can sometimes require more stamina and precision than swimming upstream while performing open heart surgery.

Drinking coffee has never been for the faint of heart, but it should be a task for the tired, so let's quit all this lolly-gagging and get a move on it. Our exhausted, procreating friends need their caffeine fix.

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No. 3 — No talking in the Quiet Section. I'm no English language expert, but my instincts tell me that quiet is synonymous with no talking — so cut it out.

Richmond students are so wired with forms of silent communication that there's no excuse. Send an e-mail, a Gchat, a text message, a BBM, a Google Wave. Play charades or Pictionary — see if I care. Heck, you might even break out the old-fashioned pen and paper if you get desperate, but keep those lips sealed.

*Editor's Note: Jacki would like to emphasize her unbiased opinion by pointing out that she neither objects to the smell of smoke, nor is she an asthmatic.

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