Why do we have to have rules? We have rules to guide and shape our beliefs and behaviour. As a rule, rules come from laws, but some rules standalone, such as the ones we make for ourselves or our household.
The “rule of law” is a concept that the government and citizens know the law and follow it. Laws and rules establish standards, they protect people, they enforce rights and resolve conflicts. Without rules, we would have anarchy in society. Yet again, are there some rules that can be broken? Is it okay to break rules? I believe it is okay to break rules, if you make them yourself, for yourself. But what about rules that other people make and expect you to follow? Are some rules unnecessary? In fact, rules can cause people to disobey the very rules that were meant to make them behave in a certain way. Think about it for a minute.
In the 1800s in many states in the USA there were laws that prevented African-Americans (then called Blacks) from learning to read or write. This ruling was because of fears that, if educated, the slave system would be undermined. Such laws were punitive and unjust, yet citizens were expected to follow the rule of law. Those that thought these rules were wrong and educated “slaves” were severely punished, if found out! Rules such as preventing people from an education is not right. But back then, people thought it was right. We now look back in history and know that such treatment was wrong, it was discriminatory.
Subservience or denying people equal rights and equal opportunities is prejudicial. As it happens, there were social reformers, known as abolitionists, who recognised the injustices of the slave system and protested it. Eventually, after an Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln on 1st January 1831, slavery was official abolished in the USA by the Thirteenth Amendment, which took effect of 18th December 1865.
Why am I writing about rules? Because when we went away recently for a mid-week break (a retiree’s weekend) the cottage we stayed at had rules. The hosts (female & male) walked through the cottage with us on our arrival. The woman pointed out the rules “what we should do” and “what we shouldn’t do”. It was overwhelming and we had not encountered anything like it before. We have travelled the world several times and stayed in hotels, motels, apartments, cabins, houses and cottages. Never have our hosts felt they needed to point out the rules, so poignantly. Usually, when you book into a hotel or self-contained apartment you will find your way around. There is usually information that will guide your stay, such as how to use a television or DVD player. Perhaps also a request about respecting the property, cleaning any dishes, emptying rubbish and paying for any damages.
The focus on rules at our cottage stay was so formidable it took us almost 24 hours to recover! There were signs in different places telling us how to behave. I understand the need for a “few” rules as people are different and not everyone cares for another’s property the way they should. But when it is someone else’s property, even if paying for its use for a short while, we are careful and respect our hosts wishes. This is when you worry about spilling a glass of red wine on a beige rug! Too many rules can cause anxiety and when you are apprehensive the thing you did not want to happen, can happen! Fortunately for us on this occasion we had no mishaps!
One thing I found unusual, given that the cottage and the property relied on rainwater tanks, there were no rules about water conservation. That is one rule I would have expected. While most people today are conscious of being water wise, some still need a reminder. Therefore, I would have welcomed a rule about water conservation. Following are more signs we were greeted with!
We always enjoy cooking on our BBQ. When we go away on holidays this is something we like to do. The rules for using the BBQ at the Cottage were that we had to leave it in the very exact state it was. This was not only cleaning the BBQ plates, but the space below. Not put off, we decided to use the BBQ to cook our eye fillets for dinner the first evening and bacon and egg breakfast the following morning. What we did not understand is that the BBQ, an older model, got very messy under the grill. Oh my, oh my….my O&O (One & Only) started cleaning the BBQ after our relaxing breakfast and then I took over to finish the cleaning chore. And a chore it was! It took several hours between the both of us to clean!
I wanted to suggest to our hosts that they upgrade their BBQ, maybe a Weber Q, one that is easier to clean or at least leave some BBQ wipes to make cleaning easier. My O&O preferred not to say anything, just to leave “sleeping dogs lie”. I agreed and we went away without giving any feedback.
Rules rule, but the “cottage rules” did not rule us for long. We left after a couple of days and emphasised the positive: the views, the reading material, the comfortable bed and the wood fire (enjoyed with our wood allocation).
There are Queensland Government and Local Council rules for those who provide rental accommodation. Did our hosts follow all these rules? By law, to receive protection under the law, operators of such establishment must display a notice their accommodation is licensed. I must have missed that one, when I was busily taking photos of all the other cottage household rules!!
Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) said “right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” We went away after our cottage stay, not fully comfortable with all the rules, but knowing we did the right thing. We were respectful of our hosts rules and grateful for the comfort they provided for us on our mid-week getaway. Should we return? Nah!
P.S. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos!