Apathetic, or Just Unaware?

A few days ago, I was standing in Au Bon Pain, a soup/salad/sandwich place located in Squires, Virginia Tech’s student building. I had just received my sandwich after a long wait and was ready to leave when my friend asked me to grab her a bag of chips. Now, this sounds like a generally simple request, but in ABP around lunch time, it’s like asking someone to scale the Great Wall of China. The temperature of the air changes as students stand shoulder-to-shoulder, turn in sandwich orders, fill up on coffee, and chat with their friends next to the soup bar. The air conditioning dissolves into oppressive, muggy heat. Everyone is hungry, and everyone is impatient. 

I decided to go for the chips anyway. 

After hunching my shoulders in and ducking my head down, I muttered, “Excuse me,” and made my way to the front, where the chips waited. One girl refused to make way for me, and so I ended up uncomfortably squeezing past her in the process. As soon as I stepped away, she let out a over-exaggerated huff and rolled her eyes

I couldn’t believe it. All I was trying to do was grab my friend some chips and get the heck out of ABP. I wasn’t trying to ruin this girl’s day by shoving past her. Then it hit me, how often do I ignore the feelings of others just because I’m tired or busy? I’ve definitely huffed at people in ABP and shot them dirty looks for getting in my way, when they’re probably feeling just as rushed as I am. 

Campus Courtesy has been conducting random interviews throughout campus about courtesy, and many people have echoed the same sentiment: be polite to the people you take for granted. Whether it’s fellow students, bus drivers, or dining hall workers, we all tend to forget simple acts of acknowledgement that could make our communication so much better. But is it that we forget and are unaware of our own discourtesy, or that we are apathetic? If we are made aware of simple acts, like thanking our bus driver or waving at cars who let us pass on the sidewalk, will we begin to implement those acts? Or will we just continue to interact as usual?

Through this blog, we intend to find out.