Why is it hard for people to follow rules?
I was sitting at Starbucks downtown the other day. It was a beautiful summer day. You know the day: the ones where you are happy you are unemployed, and if you were employed, it was the day you sat at the window staring longingly out to sunny weather and people walking by in shorts with long cool drinks in hand, cyclist wearing the bare minimal and children playing in the South Platte river. I am obviously in the unemployed group, just hanging around and enjoying every minute of the outdoorsy weather.
Naturally, it is not all bliss as I describe. With the sunny breezy day comes the people that ignore rules, basic etiquette. The ones that lack the ability to not be selfish. The 2 gentlemen, probably not the right description for the two, across from me started smoking. One a regular cigarette, the other one of those modern huffing puffing things, which still constitutes smoking. My coffee started tasting like smoke, probably only my imagination, but still, it is my imagination. And the next thing I knew, I could do nothing but look at the two, thinking to myself, why are people so selfish? Why is it so hard to just follow the rules and allow others to be outside without being bombarded with the terrible smell of cigarette smoke?
I have never smoked in my entire young life, why on earth would I harm my body like that? It is not a natural thing to do. When you stand close to a fire and inhale smoke, it makes you cough. I bet it is the same when you start smoking? I always tell my girls, if God indented for you so smoke, you would have had a chimney on your shoulders and head with a healthy brain…. That is what my parents had told me, and I believed them, therefore, I have never smoked. I have never used drugs either, I have never seen the need for or that is has benefitted anyone using it…. I guess soon these to statements would belong to the minority of the population.
Of course, we live in a free world with a free will. And I am not trying to enforce my views or my rules on others. I am a rule follower. If I want to do something that the law prohibits me to do- which is very very very unlikely anyway- I would not do it, purely because there is a law saying I should not. My husband and I had a huge disagreement about a rule that our school made and enforced. The rule said you could only enter at a certain gate… which, I must admit, did not make sense. It was sort of one of those: Hu? You must be kidding? Moments. But it turned out they were quite serious about this rule. For me it is simple, it does not have to make sense for me to just follow it. It was a simple rule, but harmless. So, I did what I was told… My husband on the other hand said it was crap and he was not obeying a rule that did not make sense. It drove me nuts that I could not make him follow “the rule”.
Just because we do not understand the rule does not mean we should not follow it. Unless it will be harmful to ourselves or others. In general rules and laws are made to protect, serve and maintain order. We live in the country of the free. Yet, I cannot sit and drink my coffee in peace, because some guy chose to ignore the sign on his table the prohibits smoking. Regardless of the sign, this Starbucks patio is a place where people eat and drink and have little children and dogs. Why should everyone be exposed to two men’s selfishness? Because it is not only not following the rules, it also sends the message “we are here for us and our comfort and to hell with the rest of you”.
Colorado law prohibits the smoking of cigarettes and vaping in public areas and areas of dining. And Starbucks prohibits it. Why did I not address the two gentlemen directly? Because I do not like confrontation, and why should my morning be ruined even further with a public dispute? I did complain to the Starbucks staff, whom immediately addressed the two gentlemen… Whom ignored the warning and continued in their ways afterwards. I weighed up the possibility of being sworn at and humiliated because of my request to stop smoking, and I decided that it was not worth exposing myself to all the terrible possible outcomes of my request…. And I guess that is why people like my live in a world where no one follows rules…