It Starts With Hello

Hey everyone! Slam, here and I’m bringing you my bi-weekly column “Real Talk With Slam” again. This week I will be talking about something that has irked me for sometime, now. It’s the manners that seem to disappear when people enter Sharples. There must be some invisible force field that knocks the common sense out of Swatties as soon as we enter the dining hall. It’s utterly remarkable. I’ll take you through the things I encounter during my daily Sharples experience. Let’s start with where the force field begins: the entrance.

When I walk up those two awkward steps up toward the dining hall, I typically notice someone is lagging behind me with a huge bookbag, tote bag, or athletic bag usually bigger than their entire existence. The large bags are not a problem for me at all. In fact, I respect a rather large bag! That shows that you are really going hard in the paint with your academics, fashion, and/or sport and you deserve all the praises. However, what makes me want to trip you is that after I hold the door open for you, you seemingly forget that I exist. Yes, the force field is officially at work here! I don’t want to stop and have a full conversation with you, because frankly, I probably don’t care about what you have to say at the moment because I’m on a mission to grub out on Caribbean bar. However, a simple thank you is not much. It’s two words and eight letters. Seriously. It’s easy and shows that you have some manners.

Now that we have entered Sharples, it is time to get our ID cards swiped by the amazing Sharples staff who have to sit in those seats all day and watch us pass by and talk about our Swarthmore problems which in the grand scheme of things are probably not that serious. As I wait in line, I notice that few people acknowledge the men and women who are swiping us in to the dining hall. Say hello! Stop being rude! Ask them how their day is going or at least give them a smile. I can’t tell you how many Swatties hand over their card, don’t say a word and stroll into Sharples with their group of friends without saying a thing to the Sharples staff.  Um, what? I’m sorry, but at what point did we become SO disconnected from social interactions that we couldn’t flash a smile or say hello? This goes for when we are getting swiped in or receiving food. Anyway, let’s head downstairs.

Right now, it’s probably that rush period downstairs and it seems like everyone and his or her ancestors are in the dining hall. Now, as I am walking to find a seat downstairs I’ve probably been bumped about three different times. And more times than not, someone has said sorry because they literally have been forced to say something as I glare at them for not looking where they are going. But I do know that some of the time I bump into someone, it’s my fault and I apologize, see if anything was spilt, and I keep it moving. Swatties are typically good at this sort of thing. Now, it’s time for the meal.

After I get my food, sit down, and enjoy the company of my friends, I usually notice a couple of things. Somebody is throwing food of some sort or somebody has dropped some food on the ground. Now, both of which are not that bad but what is offensive is when the people who throw the food or accidently drop the food don’t clean up their mess. My big question is, who do you think is going to clean up your mess? The Sharples Fairy? Oh, no. You must be mistaken. If you’re going to have some fun and play with your food, you damn sure better clean it up. It’s not the Sharples staff’s job to clean up after your disregard for the dining hall. The worst is when I notice people watch the food land on the floor and walk. Right. Past it. Oh, ok, so you saw it was there and you just didn’t care to pick it up? I am just trying to understand where you thought that you were paying tuition for services to clean up the mess YOU made.

After I pick up my tray, and prepare to leave Sharples, I always notice a few trays, cups, and or plates scattered around the dining hall. Again, did you think the Sharples Fairy was going to pick your tray up for you? Could you not walk the short distance to the conveyer belt to clear your tray?

Did you think someone was going to follow you and pick it up for you? Maybe you thought there was an army of Keebler elves that would crawl from the cracks of Sharples and magically move your tray as soon as you were done. I’m really trying to understand why this is a constant recurrence in some college students on this campus.

I love my Swatties, I really do! All of these things are common courtesy that people seem to forget about. It’s as if as soon as some of us walk up those awkward two steps into the dining hall we really do forget how to act. Just be respectful of others. It’s a simple task that speaks volumes and it all starts with hello.

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