Sunday, October 10, 2010

Elevator Manners

I think you can tell a lot about people from little things. Recently I moved to Seattle from Minneapolis and I originally hail from Michigan. I work in an eleven story office building and every day I ride the elevator up to the sixth floor. And every day not one person ever asks me which floor I am heading to, not one person volunteers to push the button for me, and not one person ever asks me to press the button for them.

It's freakin weird. In most places people routinely ask other people which floor they are going to, and they routinely hit the button because it's a nice and friendly thing to do. But here, they are not nice and they are not friendly and it's noticeable.

And I wonder why and I blame liberalism. It might be a stretch, but the way I see it, the reason people are so disconnected, the reason they don't acknowledge your existence inside and outside the elevator, is that it's not their responsibility. It's the responsibility of the state. They pay taxes not because they care, but so they don't have to.

It's not in anyones genes to ignore other people. It's a learned behavior. Liberalism teaches that society, not individuals, are responsible for others. Individuals gradually learn that it's not their job to engage, and it becomes the norm. Every day I ride six floors silently with people who have been taught to shut the world out because it's not their responsibility. Maybe not, but small acts of kindness make the world such a nice place. Let's not teach people to avoid them.


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