Cut the Disrespect

I’m waiting in line for dinner (it feels like I’ve been here for an eternity by now). My hands fiddle, my feet tap. I look down at my shoes and when I look back up – the line in front of me seems to have grown. Those people certainly weren’t there before. You’ve probably encountered this phenomena of “the never-ending line” at some point in your lives. Perhaps you’re even one of those people who magically appear at the front of the line. In any case, line-cutting is a prevalent and extremely frustrating trend here on campus.

The thing is, this doesn’t just happen at Paresky Commons. Many of you probably remember the disaster of this year’s Grasshopper ticket sales – a case of line-cutting severe enough to inspire two other Commentary articles this fall. For those of you unfamiliar with the Grasshopper line scene, let me explain – you’ve waited patiently in line for over an hour and have earned a spot in the middle of the line. Latecomers wait at the end of the line that happens to loop around to the front of the room. 5:45 then rolls around and the ticket stand finally opens, but to your surprise, those latecomers swiftly cut in front of you. You duck for cover as you try to defend yourself from the onslaught of pushing bodies and jabbing elbows, but it’s no use – you’ve just lost your spot.

To those of you whom it may concern: Please don’t cut these lines. I understand that you might be tired and hungry, and that the line is a long wait. Maybe you really need Grasshopper tickets. But when you do find yourself tempted to cut these lines – maybe because it seems harmless, and you promise yourself that it will only happen “this one time” – please, don’t do it. For one, desperately wanting either food or tickets does not justify taking away those things from others. Neither does the “one time only” excuse – the fact that you don’t cut lines often isn’t a free pass to do it occasionally. More importantly, though, cutting the line is disrespectful. Each time you cut a line, you’re essentially saying that you believe your own needs matter more than those of others. That doesn’t sound very “non sibi.” Consciously or unconsciously, you show that in that moment, you really don’t care about the other people in line.

To those of you who find the line before you magically growing: Please, don’t hesitate to call people out on their actions. I know that it can be daunting to tell someone you don’t know very well to wait their turn. Often, it seems easier to just let the problem slide, maybe because you, too, think it’s only a one-time thing. Quietly fuming and remaining silent, however, isn’t constructive in the long run for both yourself and others. By allowing line-cutting to go on, you make it okay for certain people to take advantage of others.

This line-cutting issue – however trivial it may seem – is part of a much larger problem on campus: respect (or rather, the lack thereof). It’s the dishes left on tables in Paresky, the candy wrappers and trash left all over campus, the random person who decides to cut in line – all of these examples reflect the general disrespect many of us have for each other and our school. So please: I want to remind all of you to keep in mind this matter of respect. We are all fortunate enough to attend Andover, and must consciously respect and be considerate to all those who make up our lives here.