Simon Says: Treat Traffic Thoughtfully

Taking Turns, or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Etiquette


Simon Jones

A snapshot of how awful parking can be in the back lot.

Famous billionaire-playboy Benjamin Franklin once said: “Nothing is certain except death and traffic violations.” I’m not a historian by any means, but I think the significance of that quote lives on through the generations. Now, ‘traffic’ doesn’t necessarily denote vehicular traffic (although that is part of the problem); it can also mean the flow of people in the halls.

The hallways are the arteries of West, and it has a metric ton of clots. Picture this: you’re dangerously close to the end of passing time, and you’re practically sprinting down the stairs. Egads! A group of people in exactly the wrong place! They stand there uncaring, blocking your path and in the end, you’re late to class. Others and I have had this happen to us too many times to count. To say it lightly: it’s kind of a nuisance.

Now, I could rant for the rest of this section but I don’t think anybody wants to hear a guy (who already takes up enough space as is) hypocritically complain about how there’s not enough room and flow in halls. So instead of that I’m just going to give a few pointers:

It’s really that simple. Treat traffic flow in the hallways like you would traffic flow on the roads, and if you’re an underclassman who can’t drive yet, grow up faster, jeez. And speaking of roads, the ones at West suffer from the same ailments that the halls do.

I’ve already said that I’m not a historian, so I should probably say that I’m not a mechanic either. I don’t know jack about cars, but one thing I know for certain is that high schoolers can be pretty terrible at controlling two-ton hunks of metal and rubber.

It’s a good thing that the DMV (oh the horror, not the DMV!) thought that it’s probably a good idea to have people complete a driver’s education course before putting them in front of the wheel. Anything less and that’s a recipe for disaster. People are taught how to not kill people (and themselves), which is definitely a great idea, but they’re not taught how to be a respecting, cooperative driver.

One of the reasons that really inspired me to write this column was me nearly getting hit by some guy in an SUV, who refused to yield to me and take his turn. I’m pretty sure that most people like being alive (me included) and car-repair-debt free, so to say it was an impression on me would be an understatement. I exaggerated that a bit, but the point still stands.

The overall problems in the parking lot have been sitting in the back of head since as long as I could drive to school. I’m not saying that everyone is at fault here, I’m just saying that there is a certain group of people who don’t really regard the so-called ‘unwritten rules of the parking lot’, and this needs to change.

I’m going to give a few more pointers on driving through West’s roads (and totally not because it’s consistent and convenient for my designer):

And that’s all folks! All you have to do is watch out for others, have grace and have haste. And be careful too, West doesn’t need any car accidents on campus. (Think of the nightmare amount of paperwork that would mean!)

It would be a pipe dream to believe that every single person at West could perfect their traffic flow. We’re all human and we make mistakes. But what matters is that we at least try. Bad traffic wins when good commuters do nothing.