By Konrad Philip, Staff Writer
If getting around is something we do every day, why are we so bad at it? Slow walkers, grass tramplers, and rude drivers are everywhere. But does it have to be that way?
The word etiquette originates from the signs King Louis XIV’s gardeners put up, called étiquettes in French, which asked visiting aristocrats not to walk on the grass at Versailles. The French did get a big head start, but it is not too late to apply those rules here at UBC. I think we are smart enough to know that stepping and potentially slipping on muddy grass will not save us any time. What will, however, is walking at a steady pace and remembering the right-hand rule: slow and distracted walkers should stay away from the centre of the sidewalk.
On city sidewalks, bikes should be walked. When riding one at UBC, signal turns to avoid hitting anyone and maintain a safe speed. Pedestrians always have the right of way.
Once you have arrived at a door, let the people inside the building or stairway exit first. If you’re feeling especially polite, you may also hold the door for others.
When entering a bus, leave the seats closest to the front for the elderly and disabled. If the bus happens to be full and you see someone who is visibly tired or carrying groceries or a child, don’t wait to be asked to offer your seat. If standing, be mindful not to block doors. Keep cell-phone conversations to a minimum: most people don’t want to hear your discussion, or they may want to for all the wrong reasons! One thing nobody wants to hear is your singing or your music, so keep it quiet. Also, your backpack is not an in-someone-else’s-face-pack, so remove it before entering a bus or train. If you see someone running toward a subway, only hold the doors for them if they are reasonably close.
When carpooling, the driver is the boss. They decide how long to wait for fellow carpoolers and, more importantly, what to play on the radio. Avoid distracting the driver with embarrassing, upsetting, or simply annoying conversation. Also, be sure to ask before drinking, eating, or smoking in someone else’s car. Drivers should remember to be courteous on the road and to not back into angled parking spots.
See you at the corner of West Mall and Courtesy Street.
Have more questions? Visit my website www.notawkwardanymore.com for more tips like these!