Pay it forward, Geneseo

It seems no matter where I go these days I can count on being witness to a variety of irksome behaviors of the people around me. Laziness, rudeness and a lack of consideration for others are evident all around, from the supermarket to the shower stalls. It seems as if society is continuing on a downward spiral, plunging into the depths of rude behavior and discourteous attitudes, oblivious to the fact that it is doing so.

I could make a very, very long list of ill manners that plague our society, but for the sake of space and time, I'll just mention two that peeve me the most.

For instance, at stores like Wegmans or Wal-Mart, shopping cart return centers are located no more than 40 yards away from any given vehicle. Why is it, then, that so many people refuse to take advantage of this delightful feature of any major parking lot? I mean, it's only a few steps and pushes away. Unfortunately, so many people find this trek to the shopping cart corral too much of a burden. Instead, they feel it better suits them to simply place their shopping carts next to their car, or maybe hike it up on the curb. Some do it obviously and without shame, others appear slightly embarrassed, glancing over their shoulder as they quickly sneak into their car for the getaway. But it doesn't really matter how they commit the crime. Either way, perfectly useful spots are obstructed from use and carts run rampant through the lot on blustery days, leaving some unlucky car with a battle scar or two, and making the poor cart guy scurry around the parking lot, desperately herding the wild carts.

Another disgustingly inconsiderate habit I've had to come to terms with recently is people's tendencies to not clean up after themselves. Living in a corridor style residence hall, I share a bathroom with about 16-20 girls. And by the end of each day, they are disgusting. Clumps of hair in the drains, stuck to the shower walls, unidentifiable liquids dripped on the counter, pee on the seats. It's not like we need to fully clean and disinfect the bathroom; we just have to clean up after ourselves, so that everyone else has a relatively clean, or at least not a disgusting, space to use. Didn't we learn anything from our mothers?

It may be that these behaviors are small and trivial in the grand scheme of things. But as far as I see it, they go beyond runaway shopping carts and clumps of hair. These behaviors and practices represent a sort of decline in the ability of members of society to harmoniously interact with their surroundings and the people around them. They represent the egocentric mindset of much of the general population, and the complete lack of consideration for others. Maybe, if people just try a little harder, we can, as a society, reverse this unpleasant trend.

Liz Doyle is a Freshman English major.

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