You’re on your way to class and you’re a little late, so you pick up the pace and start to speed walk through the tunnels. You might actually make it before the professor begins lecture, but without fail, you hit that roadblock that we all have to endure.
I speak, of course, about the group of friends walking side-by-side through the hall at a snail’s pace. At this point you have two options: slow down and walk behind them as the rage builds inside of you, or give them an annoyed “excuse me’ and hug the wall as you try to pass.
For a school where students spend so much time walking through corridors and tunnels, it amazes me how terrible our hallway etiquette is. We have students who walk on the left side of the hall, others who come straight at you when they take tight left turns and perhaps, worst of all, those who don’t know how to open a door. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve gone from ITS toward Bausch and Lomb and there is congestion at the bottom of that small set of stairs because someone is waiting to use the left door instead of opening the right one like a normal human being. Waiting for the door that’s already open, or trying to sneak through the other side and making the person coming toward you break stride is not acceptable. If you have arms, use them.
On a similar note, pressing the handicapped button and waiting for the door to open for you when you’re not handicapped and you have a free hand is just obnoxious, especially when there are people walking behind you (namely me). It’s okay to press the button when it’s already open so that it doesn’t close, but pressing it out of laziness makes me want to slap you across the face.
I used to think that maybe it was just a couple of people who did this and that they’d eventually graduate, but lo and behold, it’s the end of senior year and I still have to deal with this regularly. Unless they’re all second semester seniors, this problem isn’t going away on its own. Therefore, I have come up with my own solution. Consider this my gift to all of you who will be on campus next fall: three simple rules on how not to be an a-hole in the hallways.
One: Always stay to the right. If you stay to the right then it doesn’t matter how slow you walk, people can always get around you if they need to. This also resolves those weird situations where someone is walking at you from a distance. Use your body language, indicate that you want to go right and go right. It’s so easy a caveman can do it! This also includes stairs like the spiral staircase going down to the Pit. If there isn’t space to stay to the right because you’re trying to walk next to someone, don’t walk next to that person.
Two: Be aware of the people behind you. Every once in a while you may realize that you’re going the wrong way. If you stop short and do a 180, you’ll find that there was someone walking behind you who now has to dodge you like a running back try being a little less sudden. In addition, stopping in the middle of the hallway to have a conversation with one of your friends is not cool. It blocks up the people behind you.
Some people are able to pull off their conversation by moving to the middle, but a lot of the corridors are too narrow for this. In general, it’s a risky move best left to the pros.
Three: Don’t be lazy, specifically with regard to doors. I’m totally cool with people using the left door instead of the right one when it’s open, as long as there aren’t other people trying to get through that door at the same time. If it’s going to make you or other people break stride, then just don’t do it. No waiting for people to get through so you can use their side and no hitting the button and waiting for the door to open. Think of it as a workout and just open the other door. Also, with exception of the doors requiring key card access, it’s common courtesy to hold the door open for the person behind you. Don’t be a dick and slip through as it’s closing.
I’ll admit that there may be some cases where these rules don’t work and you have to improvise, but for the most part they should serve you well. You’re welcome. As for me, I’m off to the real world where I sincerely hope people have already figured all of this out.
Patel is a member of the class of 2010.