Teri Vance: Sign of the times: More manners needed
A sign popped up over a flower bed on Curry Street this week. It says “Flower Thief” and hangs over a bare spot in a bed of newly bloomed irises.
I’m not sure who hung the sign, but I think I understand its intent — to call out people for picking flowers that don’t belong to them.
It’s a good reminder as the buds are starting to pop open all over town to look but don’t touch. The work someone else puts into tending their gardens or their trees isn’t then available for public consumption. The beauty is lost once you pick it.
Osho, an Indian spiritual leader and mystic said, “If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
It got me thinking about other common courtesies we all need to be reminded of from time to time. I put a note out on social media asking for input, and found many ways we can coexist better.
Hilary Stokes, who owns a hotel in Lovelock, said, “Sad to say, flush the toilet when you leave a hotel/motel room!”
I don’t know how many places of business I’ve been to where there’s a reminder on the stall door to flush. Why? Why do we need to be reminded of this. Always flush the toilet. Public toilet, private toilet, any toilet — flush it. And, while you’re at it, wash your hands.
My friend Jo Slater, who works in retail, suggested, “Get off your phone if you are trying to check in or out of a place of business.”
Confession: I might be guilty of that one. But I always feel like a dirtbag when I do it, if that helps.
Rhonda Buckley lamented the loss of phone etiquette. “Never assume the person you’re calling for is the one who is answering the phone,” she advised. “Phone etiquette is as long gone as excellent customer service.”
Several people reminded others to clean up after their pets, and to watch out for potential damage they might cause.
Brett Fisher had specific advice for Carson City party-goers.
“Don’t splash wine on other people’s cars (mine) during wine walks,” he said. “If you must walk around inebriated, please put a lid over your wine glass and a paper bag over your head.”
Connie Trica gave a tip that doubled as a safety warning.
“Put your cigarette butts in an ashtray, not the ground,” she said. “Put them out fully before putting them in one of those tall, butt-container things so they don’t smolder.”
Some of the ideas were obvious. Others are good reminders we all know we should be better at — like Craig Skinner’s, “Do not spit gum on the sidewalk … and don’t spit on the sidewalk either.”
But the final bit of advice is to hold ourselves to the highest standard, but also be slow to condemn.
It would do us all well to be more considerate. But also to be patient and forgiving when someone isn’t because we never know their circumstances.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.