Water Fountain Protocol and Other Things Wholeheartedly Wrong with America, Vol. 1

I am irked by the smallest signs of inconsideration.

Whether it’s a fellow driver not sending an acknowledging thank you wave through his rearview mirror after I’ve let him merge into traffic (more on that in Volume Two) or any other random act of selfishness, I am far too often confounded by how my fellow man continues to treat one another.

Having grown up in New York City, a place where most inhabitants rely on public transportation to get around town, I was taught that when sitting on a crowded bus or subway, it’s proper to always offer your seat to a lady or elderly person.  I was also instructed to hold doors open for others in need.  This lesson was imprinted upon me by my mother, father, grandmother and great grandfather so much so that to this day, I still go out of my way to open the door for others.

It’s just the right thing to do.

Which brings us to water fountain etiquette in 2018.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed these newfangled, 21st century, water fountains but they are all over my YMCA.  They allow the thirst-bearer to not only drink cold water from the spout but also fill up their personal water bottles as they see fit.

That’s all fine and dandy.  Work efficiently, I get it.  I’m generally not one to bring a water bottle to the gym because a) I don’t feel like lugging it around and b) there are enough water fountains interspersed throughout my gym that I’m never far away from one in case I’m feeling the need.

I am in the minority, however, as it seems that everyone at my gym is carrying a fancy, insulated, water container they’ve paid far too much for at Stein Mart.  As George Carlin once quipped, “When, as a nation, did we become so dehydrated?”

I don’t care how you accessorize when gymming.  Carry with you your towels and iPad arm bands, your water bottles and FitBits.  Just don’t bug me while I’m cranking out weights to my Rage.

But what is protocol when filling up a water bottle with a line of thirsty, sweaty people forming behind?

It is just me or does it seem wholly inconsiderate for a person to stand there, filling up their 32 oz. water bottle, while the rest of the gym taps their feet while waiting in line behind?

When I hit the water fountain, I’m on a mission.  Give me enough water to cool off and I’m on to the next machine.  I don’t have an extra ninety seconds to wait for some nincompoop to make sure he’s getting his 64 ounces at my expense.

Doesn’t it seem like the right thing to do to allow someone to pass before you fill up you jug o’ H2O just as one would give up one’s seat on a crowded bus or subway or hold the door open for a lady?  Yet no one, and I mean no one, has allowed me to pass before their water bottle is filled to the brim… and this includes YMCA employees!

When you line up at a crowded grocery store with a cart full of goodies and notice the person in line behind you with only an item or two, do you let them pass?  If not, why wouldn’t you?  Again, we’re talking about common courtesy.

Maybe I’m making too much of this whole water fountain situation.  Or maybe I’m just thirsting… for some civility.

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14 Replies to “Water Fountain Protocol and Other Things Wholeheartedly Wrong with America, Vol. 1”

  1. Manners and common courtesy seem to be a thing of the past. Urban bike riding is like the Hungar Games on crack. If someone doesn’t try to deliberately run me over… it’s a good ride.

  2. LOVED this post SC! Funny & sad all at the same time. It feels like as a society we are getting more self-absorbed & less “ love thy neighbor “ … seeing symptoms of that all the time. NOW am I sounding like yr great grandfather?? Ha ha
    Maybe U should suggest the Y puts up signs … asking people to be considerate of others … and let the rage/weight/yoga guys thirst their quench for common decency.
    I hear U. And I’m so very proud of you.
    PS: I LOVE hat George Carlin line btw. One of my all time favorites!

  3. Exactly. If you think water fountain etiquette is lacking, never venture into the restroom for ladies. Lack of courtesy is the least of the offenses in that locale. Simply said, women in public restrooms are not only rude, they are nasty. I vow to do my part to continue to be kind and clean. Thank you for another great article.

  4. Driving in LA is like NASCAR. I think some jerks think they get extra points if they cut someone off. Unfortunately, it seems like the same mentality is taking effect at the grocery store, Costco and Target. The difference is, as I have so willingly pointed out to more than a few shoppers….You are no longer in the safety of your vehicle. I can, and am more than willing to reach out and touch your jaw should you test me. Most try to play it off when you call them on it…”Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you”. My ass. You just didn’t expect to be called out on it.

    I’m not looking for a fight mind you, just not willing to be shit on by some rude self centered asshole who thinks their time is more important than mine.

    I was raised with the same courtesy traits you rattled off above, but I swear, it’s getting more and more common that some people obviously missed that portion of American culture class.

    Not sure if etiquette is dead, but it’s certainly on the endangered species list. Keep fighting the good fight.

  5. Kimberly…

    I thought that was the whole point of riding a bike in the first place. Oh, that’s also why God invented the middle finger, which is far more effective than a bicycle whistle in heavy traffic.

  6. M…

    I’m not even lying. Once a Y employee stood their with her water bottle, filling it while I stood online behind her.

    What the hell is that all about? George Carlin would not have been as polite, I can assure you.

  7. Ceida…

    I work late nights and weekends in an Ybor City pub.

    I can assure you, I know how women can get in public restrooms once they’ve had a few.

    At least they don’t pee on the floor though, hehe.

  8. Bleed…

    If I didn’t already have a few personal bodyguards, you’d be on my short list.

    I can only imagine the trouble you and I would get into on a night out on the town.

  9. Now that, my friend, would be something.

    Hope you have a happy and healthy holidays coming up but don’t worry, this was only part one of what’s to be one helluva seven days for me.

    Turns out I might need a bodyguard after all.

    And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will always Love yooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuu!!!!!

    (Sorry, felt a little Whitney coming on there with the photo from the Butler post and all this talk about bodyguards and such.)

  10. Pingback: The merge, the wave and the lack thereof: Other things wholeheartedly wrong with America, Vol. 2 | Sports Chump

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