Monday, September 20, 2021

Its up to U to make life easier for everyone

While walking between locations on campus, driving my car between these same places or riding my motorized skateboard with a handle (but that’s a past-tense activity, because the four or five of us scooter-riders on campus have been banned from sidewalks and streets at MSU), I kept thinking about writing a column that would carefully focus on things that irritate some of us, aggravate others and simply drive the rest of the population crazy.

I knew it had to reflect the inherent beliefs of the population, but MSU is a pretty big place with a whole lot of really different people. Maybe some of these people wouldn’t agree with what I had to say.

But I guess that is the whole nature of opinion - it is opinion and that is what makes it both spectacular and awful at the same time. If it’s my opinion, it’s great, if it’s yours, it could be awful. So with that, I began to think about a very simple premise - wouldn’t it be nice?

Have you ever just closed your eyes and spent time thinking about your environment and hoping things you witnessed that were illegal, insensitive or just plain obnoxious could be instantly made right? I think we all do, but also realize for the most part, all those aggravating things will still be there when we wake up in the morning.

We dream of worlds where people are concerned with others, practice what they preach and spend real constructive time for the betterment of society (Was this the basic premise of “Survivor”?). These ideas led me to ponder some of the things in the environment of MSU that might make for a greater existence for all of us.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you answered the phone to initial silence, the telemarketer at the other end would be transported to a galaxy far, far away? It would probably be pleasant, too, if when they arrived, they were subjected to a barrage of phone calls from obnoxious customers who had no ability to properly express themselves in language under 100 decibels.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you entered one of those numerous marked crosswalks situated on the 10 billion miles of roads on MSU’s campus - especially Shaw Lane - the cars would actually obey the law and stop for that little band of walkers who include you, the little old lady with a prosthesis and cane and the faculty member with the broken lens in his/her glasses?

I have often wondered if there is something on the Web or on one of the video games in the Campus Center that plots points for those people who get the closest to the walkers in the crosswalks. I truly believe the contestants are not allowed to physically hurt anyone, but the most points are allotted to the drivers who are able to clean the dust off of their fenders with the clothing of a fleeing walker.

Wouldn’t it be nice if those cars that always seem to inhabit the sidewalks would be towed away instead of forcing you to trudge through the snowbanks and the mud? I realize most of these vehicles are driven by students who live as far as two blocks from campus, but doesn’t it seem right that some agency should take your side and prevent the injuries you sustain by climbing up and over mounds of snow? Perhaps some motorists take great pleasure in seeing an individual with a newly obtained cast on that critically broken leg do wild gyrations through mud and snow. Maybe it is related to the points given to driving crazily through crosswalks.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the student sitting next to you in your class, who normally bolts from the room and jumps into his souped-up Mustang with the faculty/staff sticker on it and roars on to his next class, would join you in line for the too-full Capital Area Transportation Authority bus and find out what Michigan winters are really like?

One wonders where the fairness is in seeing your fellow underclassman parking in premium faculty/staff parking spaces when you have to find your way from Lot 89, the commuter lot, in all kinds of weather.

Complaints, complaints, complaints. We love to voice them, but we never seem to do anything about them. We always say, “Wouldn’t it be nice?” But wouldn’t it be nice if a whole handful of people got on the phone and called whatever agency on campus that controls the illegal, insensitive or obnoxious behavior one witnesses, and actually gets that behavior modified?

Modified by towing, tickets or therapy - as long as it changes the environment for the rest of us - wouldn’t it be nice?

Craig Gunn, academic specialist at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, can be reached at gunn@egr.msu.edu.

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