Crayons don’t need rules

There are many things in life that are simply silly.

Like nonexistent rules.

For the most part, I follow rules. Ever since that one time I had to move my pin during nap time in kindergarten, I decided I don’t really like getting in trouble. In fact, throughout middle school and high school, the only thing I ever got detentions for was talking too much. Sure, I jaywalk all the time, and I can’t say the speed limit is always my focus, but I know that rules and laws are in place for a reason, and I generally adhere to them.

Except for when they aren’t real.

I do not like unwritten rules that people follow for no other reason than they’ve just somehow become part of the long list of social norms by which people are expected to abide. I’m not talking about general manners; I’m referring to those “standards” that are supposed to guide people in how to act in certain social situations. I mean, why do I have to shake with my right hand? Why am I expected to click “like” on a picture simply because I’m tagged in it? Why do we feel we have to answer, “Fine, thanks. And you?” (or some version of that) when people ask us how we’re doing? Why is it rude to ask how old someone is?

And what is the deal with treating the elevator like some awkward chamber of silence?

STANDout
Seuss knows

I was on an elevator the other day, and I received a very humorous cat picture in a text. (For those of you who don’t know me too well, I absolutely love funny cat pictures. Whether it’s a cat in costume or a cat trying to be a human, I love photos with cats that make me laugh. I don’t own a cat, and I would rather not deal with a litter box, but I definitely appreciate a quality comedic cat pic.) So, there was another man on the elevator with me, and I felt like sharing the reason I had just burst out laughing. I explained my love for funny cat pictures, and then I showed him the pic. I realize we aren’t besties, but I like talking to people, even if I don’t know them.

Apparently we didn’t have that in common.

He looked at me as if he was wondering why I was trying to have a conversation with him. I realize the topic might not be super appealing to everyone, but we could have talked about something else after. Only we didn’t. He fell silent, and then I arrived at my floor. I said bye to him and wished him a good evening, and he gave me a polite nod and said, “Take care.” Although it didn’t seem completely genuine, I’ll take it. At least he said something.

Every time I ride in elevators, it’s as if people become mute unless they’re asking “What floor?” And there seem to be other pieces of etiquette in the confined space, such as where you stand or what direction you’re supposed to face. Well, what if I don’t want to stand in the corner and face the doors? And what if I feel like talking to the people on their journeys of vertical transportation?

Some social norms don’t make sense, and there is no requirement that one must follow them. If you want to dance in public, dance. If you want to sing in the middle of a crowded mall or park, sing. If you want to wear colors that people claim don’t match, go for it–anything matches if you wear it with confidence. If you want to want to skip down the streets like Buddy the Elf, skip. If you want to high five the barista for always getting your order just right, throw that hand in the air. And if you want to talk in an elevator, strike up a conversation. You can’t get to know people in silence, anyway.

Life wasn’t meant to be lived the exact same by everyone. We don’t have to follow rules that arent real. It’s not easy to spread love when you’re constantly putting limitations and restrictions on the way you live, anyway.

Besides, if every Crayon in the yellow box were exactly the same, you wouldn’t be able to color as pretty of a picture.

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