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Emmanuel Etiquette and the Weight of your World

Last Monday, February 4, the residents of St. Ann’s had to evacuate the building because someone left a bag of popcorn in the microwave and the smoke had triggered the fire alarms. This was the second night in a row.

 The fire department arrived within minutes but left promptly as there was no pressing danger. Campus Security remained to see the students safely admitted back into the building. The atmosphere was light and casual among the RA’s and the students who trudged from the Atrium back through the snow to their rooms, some barely dressed, one wearing a bath towel. It was late, and the building got quiet rather quickly, and it seemed that was the end of it.

However, Katie Bruckmann, a resident of St. Ann’s who employs the use of a wheelchair, was unfortunately displaced upon discovering that she couldn’t return to her room, located on one of the upper floors of the dorm. The elevators go on automatic lockdown once the fire alarms are triggered, and require maintenance and a special key to operate again. She waited for almost an hour in the lobby until she was able to return to her floor.

Later that evening, I also got ready for bed, and I entered the bathroom on the second floor of Loretto Hall to wash my face and brush my teeth. You can imagine that sharing the same bathroom with seventy young men will present its various challenges; I have lots of cosmetic needs to satisfy as I enjoy being as fabulous as I can, but sometimes this is rather difficult in the conditions that I will often find the bathroom in.

When I think of reasons why there is so little care of the bathroom by the people who use it, I remember Alfred from The Dark Knight grimly tell Bruce Wayne that “some men just want to watch the world burn.” Did you deliberately not flush the toilet? Is this a message? Sometimes the showers get clogged with food. Sometimes we run out of paper towels; we use way too much, exhausting whole rolls in a single day. Noting the other acts of depravity often displayed in this place, I hurriedly washed up and returned to my room.

The floor kitchen is also usually a place of horror and disgust; people often leave trash – lots of trash – strewn about the room disregarded, and in the lounge downstairs, too. And despite signs advocating otherwise, there’s always a crushed box or two sitting on the floor of the garbage chute, even though it clearly says not to leave them there, like it’s someone else’s responsibility.

But who am I? Certainly no benevolent guardian angel type to reveal to Emmanuel College students the error of their ways; I must be just as inconsiderate as everyone else, not because I want to be but because I’m not paying attention. And, see, that’s what scares me, that we’ve become desensitized to the gravity of our own thoughtlessness. What else are we neglecting? We can’t even take decent care of the very spaces that we inhabit and live communally with one another; does this attitude outwardly reflect the way we treat our own lives?

Please be accountable for your own life. It’s yours to do whatever you’d like with, so stay connected, and don’t tune all the signs and messages out.

Except for the ones in the toilets.

Posted by on February 17, 2013. Filed under Around Campus,Opinions & Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.