Manners, Anyone?

OVER my two and a half years at Harvard, I have observed my fellow students in classrooms, dining halls and in many other situations related to "the college experience." When I first arrived, I diagnosed an affliction that has continued to manifest itself in my peers. This ailment is commonly known as rudeness.

I have never been exposed to as many uncouth, inconsiderate, ill-mannered and, frankly, crass individuals in my life. Although Harvard students come from all walks of life and regions of the globe, the one link that ties many of them together is a lack of home training. A few examples will illustrate this point, but if you want your own evidence, sit down on the steps of Widener or at a table in the Union and simply watch.

I WAS walking in Dunster House with my roommate. Approximately 25 paces behind us followed two women. When we came to the door which opened out into the courtyard, we stopped, waited and allowed the women to pass in front of us. Neither deigned to say "Thank you."

The converse situation also seems to thrive here. When I am following a person towards an entryway door, why do I consistently end up running to catch the door before it closes? And before you say, "Well, maybe the person didn't know you were behind them," consider that it has happened to me when the sun is shining, when the rain is falling and even when I am shouting, "Hold the door please!"

Let us examine another scenario. When walking through the Yard or on the sidewalk, I have had to repeatedly side-step the oncoming shoulders of the people walking towards me. And when I have not done so, I must exclaim, "Excuse me!" in order for my peers to acknowledge that they have bumped into me. This comment seems to spark a revelation: the students suddenly realize they do not own the sidewalk.

Next, let's peer into the dining hall-- any dining hall. Wait, look upon those heads. Are they dunce caps? Are they beanies? NO! They are baseball hats that dot the dining hall like the little beacons of no-home-training which they represent. You do not, I repeat, you do not wear hats at the table. Not only is that inconsiderate to your neighbors, but it is extremely barbaric.

Let us remain in the dining hall and see if we can find some feet on the furniture. Bingo! Not only do I see feet on the chairs but in some isolated cases, upon the table. this action is not only inexcusable but obnoxious to the person who will next sit at that seat or the dining hall worker who will clean the table.

Finally, let's journey to the innermost chambers of our own rooms. I have had some particularly inconsiderate neighbors. They would blast music at the most inopportune times. For example, I have been awakened to George Michael belting out, "I had a hard day, such a hard day..." at 8 a.m. on Monday morning; I have also been disturbed by a thumping bass line preceded by Tone Loc declaring "Let's do it" on Wednesday morning at 2:30 a.m. during reading period.

In addition, I have also witnessed the complicated conditions of "I-can't-close-the-door-phobia" and "Music-never-loud-enough-itis" and have suffered from their physical manifestations.

I hope these little anecdotes have caused a smile to cross your face, and if you are eating, please don't laugh. However, the reason I state these facts is not to entertain you, but to hopefully teach my peers some manners.

I think the world would be a much better place if we all mastered the words, "Please," "Thank you," "Excuse me," and "I'll try to be more considerate next time."