From Bad Parking To Bad Manners?

The Wolfson Campus’ infrastructure, generously sized student parking facilities and downtown location have earned, in my opinion  the occasional praise of being the best Miami Dade College campus. Unfortunately, not everything is so rosy.

Take the employee’s parking lot, for instance, located a block across from the student parking lot. On a daily basis, a bold sign declaring “Parking Lot Full” gets posted outside the lot.

Certainly, if I parked in the employee parking lot and found it to be full every day, I would be pissed. Or would I?

Former author and journalist, Christopher Hitchens, once wrote an essay called Miss Manners and the Big C  where he described a “cancer etiquette handbook” that would “impose duties on me as well as upon those who say too much, or too little, in an attempt to cover the inevitable awkwardness in diplomatic relationships between Tumortown and its neighbors.”

This essay showed that some people lacked the ability to be emphatic when talking about his malady. When speaking of something as morbid as cancer, one surely has to be careful what to say — but in fact, our everyday etiquette also requires a bit of empathy.

There’s even published guides on the subject, such as the “Good Manners” chart, published by the Australian Children’s National Guild of Courtesy. Amongst its rules, the chart states, “Never be Rude to anybody, whether older or younger, richer or poorer, than yourself.” Though the chart may be aimed at children, it seems as though adults would benefit from it in this current climate of low-priority etiquette.

Saying “good afternoon” or “have a good one” to someone may seem to be of little importance in this world full of stress and opportunity and tight schedules, but the simplistic action of uttering a greeting or salute will be very significant to most people. Wouldn’t you like to be greeted and saluted often? If that’s the case, you’ve got to abide by the famous Golden Rule — “always do to others as you would wish them to do to you.”

In my fantasy, I’m still stuck outside a full employee parking lot. But instead of getting mad at the security guard and being insulted that I have to swipe my ID through a machine, I remember that it’s right to avoid treating people as a mere means to my passing through history. It is in our hands to create for ourselves and others a friendly environment, and all it takes is an appreciation of that very fact in order to make it happen.

Good afternoon, and have a good one.

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