I see some ridiculous things day-to-day, but sometimes people really take the biscuit. Lecture theatres are a perfect example of an isolated situation in which I can relate with everyone around me when someone does something stupid. Here are just a few examples:
I was in an English Literature lecture and I started to think I could smell nail polish; knowing this was the last place I’d smell it I waved it off as one of those random smells you just can’t quite place. Then I looked down to the row in front of me and sure enough, to the right, a girl was sitting painting her nails a metallic purple for the entire hall to witness and whiff. The smell was pungent to say the least but the very fact she thought this was, not even just appropriate, but productive to her own studies was hilarious to myself and my peers around me. When she’d finished coating herself in this noxious liquid, she realised she couldn’t type or touch the screen on her relatively new laptop. So she sat and flailed while she missed the best chunk of the lecture. I personally had to hold my nose, not from the smell, just to stop myself from chuckling at her misfortune.
It’s always tense when someone leaves early during a lecture. I’ve never had to, so far, thankfully; but for the people who have to regularly really don’t make it easy for themselves. There was a girl in an English Language lecture that plonked herself down right in the middle of a row with no easy way to leave early. Generally, I assume, people leave five minutes early to go to another lecture across campus that starts when the current one ends and so they need travel time but help yourself out, people. If you know you have to leave, sit at the end of a row near the door. This girl made the entire row stand up so she could squeeze past with her unnecessarily large bag, so unnecessary for everyone involved. I know that I, with my ounce of humility, would’ve sat through it and just embraced being late to the next lecture; rather than cause that ruckus.
The worst example of someone being absolutely stupid in a lecture so far is, sadly, a result of my own actions. I was in an English Language lecture, we were parsing a sentence (basically, splitting it into nouns, verbs, adjectives, phrases, clauses etc) and the example sentence was: “Tom’s chair broke because he sat on it” or something to that extent. The lecturer was analysing what that sentence was made up of and what it needed to make it a certain type of clause/phrase collective and he said: “So, Tom is a noun and he’s speaking about his chair which is also a noun but what does Tom need to make this a sentence?”
To that I answered (out loud I might add), in front of 150+ people: “a better chair.”
It was one of those horrid moments when you think ‘did I just say that out loud?’ I wanted to curl up into a ball and only emerge when people had long forgotten this cringe-worthy moment. There was a deafening silence for about five seconds, which felt like forever, and the lecturer replied “…yes, that’s a pragmatic approach but I was looking for a verb.” He was a decent guy and ran with it but I felt so idiotic. Shut up next time, Jonathon; keep your thoughts to yourself!