Civility makes way to a higher purpose.
When I first started this piece, it was meant to be a rant on some common courtesies that seemed to be needing of attention, but you will see just how quickly I take things to a higher level. Ultimately this is a declaration that I can no longer keep my thoughts so grounded. I must let my thoughts run free!
Since my very first day here at Kirkwood about 4 years ago, there has been an issue that I’ve longed to address. And it’s been a consistent issue that has shown no signs of taking care of itself without some proper discourse. We are talking about the frequent inability for users of the male bathroom to get the automatic flushing toilets to work. (the lil’ issue)
An unflushed toilet is the ultimate slap-in-the-face to the next person and I, for one, think it’s a problem that can be eradicated because most of us agree on this issue. I say this completely empathetic to reasons why some students may not be familiar with the process, but I am quite certain all are able to figure it out or seek the solution. Don’t say you didn’t know… did you hear it flush? Did you see it go down? And don’t pretend you didn’t look. We’ve all heard “never look back”, but we all looked back. YOU looked back. There’s often a manual back-up. Or you can “set it off,” rather easily and hygienically. Ask a friend or Google it if you must. The world only gets more difficult from here. (solution for the lil’ issue)
But as I think of what constitutes civility or what amounts to a basic, proper, public code-of-conduct I begin to feel a bit overwhelmed. Is there really any commonality in what we, as a society, would label the correct use of discretion? Is it just “pardon me” and “excuse me” and “thank you” and holding the door open for people at the store? Sure, I went right for the grossest thing, the thing that I personally put an emphasis on taking offensively. But I changed my writing “style” when it came to the restroom, didn’t I? Did I refer to men in the men’s room, or did I say “users of the male bathroom” instead? And was my pity for the next man to use the privy, or the next person? (now it expands… the truth peaks around the corner)
I feel perhaps I shouldn’t be as concerned with that little old lady who needs help reaching an item on a higher shelf, maybe my first concern should be what I can even call her. She may not identify with age, or height, or being a woman. Therefore “little old lady” could be three strikes right out of the gate! Any discussion on civility is well beyond the “light a match” approach to bathroom etiquette. Long past the internal debate of whether you should let the guy with only 4 items squeeze in past your loaded cart at Hy-Vee. There are more questions to be answered now before you can even think about what’s “proper”. (the topic grows)
And you’ll see I can’t very well wrap up a commode complaint when I have bigger fish to fry. I hope you will take from this column that I will be tackling ideas of a grander nature in the future. Along with flushing the toilet, flush out those stale ideas in your mind. I’m loading for bear!