The greeting rut
As I walk to chemistry, a classmate from religion walks past heading the opposite direction. Custom dictates this exchange: “Hi, how are you?” “Good, and you?” And we both move on, me to the Benson building and my classmate to the Wilk. Reflecting on this routine, I’ve decided I just don’t like it. “How are you?” could lead to a valuable conversation, but the question has become a greeting rather than an opportunity to connect.
How do we as a society change this exchange to one that’s more meaningful? When I’m checking on a friend, I genuinely want to know how they are feeling because I want to offer help if needed, if nothing else than by being present and listening. On the other side of the conversation, when I reply to someone else’s inquiry with a simple “good,” I’m indicating that everything is going fine when life is always more complicated than that. And believe me, engineering and chemistry classes do not make life “fine.”
Because the pandemic is limiting our interactions and many facial cues are being obscured by masks, words and inflections are vital; we must be more deliberate in our dialogue. Often we are in a hurry to get to class and don’t have time for a meaningful conversation. Even so, we can avoid asking someone else the habitual question when time is short, but on the receiving end, we can be mindful of our response. As we begin to make time to associate with others, acquaintances can become friends. Being surrounded by people who want to be present in our lives makes life feel worthwhile and better than “fine”.
Please, use your turn signal
I felt the fury build up inside of me as I watched the Subaru speed past me, weaving back and forth on the tight streets of Provo. There was not a single turn signal being used. Turn signals aren’t just decorative lights on our cars. Turn signals save lives.
A study from the Society of Automotive Engineers found that over two million accidents annually are caused by drivers who fail to use their turn signals properly. This means that accidents resulting from failure to use a turn signal account for over a third of an average six million automobile accidents per year. That number should be alarming to you. Using a turn signal may be an inconvenience at times or may seem unnecessary in certain circumstances. But a third of accidents could be prevented by an action that takes less than a second and could save you $150, the cost of a ticket.
Using your turn signal properly is the first step to showing respect and compassion to strangers around you. Start today by being mindful of your own actions on the road. After all, “World Peace starts with using your turn signal.”