When I walk around campus, I notice a lot of things. I notice my friends walking by me on the sidewalk and lately, I’ve been noticing the changing leaves on the trees. I notice the (sometimes very interesting) Milwaukee locals, cars driving by Marquette and the crazy seagulls that seem to live on the roof of the Jesuit Residence.
I also notice that the people who pass me on the street seem to be completely engrossed in something else entirely: the sidewalk. Last time I checked, the sidewalk wasn’t really all that interesting. I checked again yesterday, and sure enough, it’s still just dirty concrete slabs with the occasional patch of gum or piece of trash.
These people who are so intent on the gum of the sidewalk clearly are not noticing the same things that I am. Including me. This is not a desperate plea for attention from my fellow students. But when I see someone I know on the street, I always try to smile and say, “hello” if the situation will permit. I probably get about a 20 percent response rate (that is a completely arbitrary number, but it might be accurate). The feeling of stupidity that comes along with this is something I’ve gotten used to, and I brush it off easily.
Marquette is not an unwelcoming community (see my column from Tuesday), but I’d like a little bit more friendliness on the sidewalks of our fair university. And I will be the first to admit that I have off days, space out and don’t realize someone shouting my name for blocks. But I try to be a friendly person, which is a lot easier when there are other friendly people around. So, if I smile at you, humor me and smile right back.