Common Courtesy

Editor lays down after school etiquette

I don’t have my restricted driver’s license, and I am a junior in high school.

Because I don’t have my own transportation, I spend a considerable amount of my time after school in the Commons, waiting for a ride, usually from my grandma. Yes, I am the epitome of cool and popular.

Let me fill in those who are fortunate enough to leave school within the first 15 minutes after the final bell: the Commons becomes a jungle after about 4:30 p.m. All rules and any trace of order evaporate. There is no supervision. The security guard shoos the Commons inhabitants out at 4 p.m., but when he leaves, they drift back in through the doors.

After staff, faculty and the majority of the student body disperse, only a few reckless teenagers remain, prowling their territory for strange activities in which to engage.

Some days are quieter than others. Sometimes, I feel like I am in a strange dream where I’m the only person in an empty sea of lunch tables with the occasional janitor floating peacefully by me. On those days, I do my literature homework and scroll aimlessly through twitter, appreciating the serenity.

Most days aren’t that tranquil, however. Some weird stuff happens in the Commons. Before spending hours upon hours there, I didn’t think that high school students would need to be reminded of certain societal standards related to shared, public areas. Experience now tells me differently.

Abide by the following general guidelines for Commons conduct, and you will most likely meet the expected maturity level of a high school student:

First of all, do not engage in any physical contact with your significant other beyond a brief hug or quick peck on the cheek in the Commons. It’s called the Commons, not the Privates. Actually, this applies to the entire school’s property at all times, not just after school. No one wants to see that. Put your tongue back in your mouth and take two steps backward.

Do not play tag in the Commons. This is high school, not preschool.

Do not sing loudly in the Commons. I understand that sometimes people are full of joy that can only be expressed through song; however, there are many places besides the Commons where people can belt out their favorite show tunes.

Do not play chicken on dry land, especially in the Commons. The pillars in the Commons are made out of brick, and they are extremely pointy.

Do not take off your shoes and run around. Feet are gross.

Do not hold a conversation with someone on the complete opposite side of the Commons. This is especially true if the information one wants to disclose is of a sensitive subject. While there are not many people in the Commons at 5:17 p.m., those that are can still hear you.

Do not punch walls. The wall will always win.

Do not make loud, derogatory remarks. If at all possible, abstain from any comments that you would not like your mother to overhear. In fact, abstain from any behavior you would not want your mother to see.

Do not throw chairs. Chairs do not appreciate when people throw them.

Do sit on chairs. Chairs appreciate when people sit on them.

By design, the Commons is a grounds on which people can congregate, share their opinions, eat and engage in general merriment. It is a place for after school Pokemon battles and chess tournaments, practice debate rounds, the making of posters, ceremonies of various sorts and bake sales.

The Commons was not designed to house extreme physical contact, extreme stupidity or other extreme behaviors. Next time you find yourself stranded in this after school jungle, respect the Commons as a shared space.