unnecessary

Did you really just…? Lectures, part 3.

Exams and Christmas holidays behind me, I can get back to my normal routine of people-watching in my lectures.

So I was in Psychology, near the back because I tend to fade pretty quickly about twenty minutes into psych lectures, and these girls behind me would not shut up. Simple chatter and whispering would’ve been annoying enough to document, but these girls were repeatedly whining “I don’t understand this, this makes no sense.” This is irritating to say the least, but as the lecture continued they got progressively louder and whinier “I don’t gettttt ittttt.” I think it’s fascinating that these ladies don’t understand it to the point of verbally expressing this to the neighbouring 5 rows above and below and yet when the lecturer repeatedly asks for questions throughout the lecture they don’t bother to raise issue.

Well done dears, nice to see we’re making good use of £6,000 a term. And good luck in your exams, not that you’ll need it.

One of the most noticeably embarrassing incidents that happened in a lecture was actually in a creative writing/poetry reading thing one night after most normal lectures had finished. There was some sort of mix up with the room bookings and once we finally found somewhere to gather we all sat down and the man leading the event started to speak and say his piece. At this point it became evident that a steady trickle of asian students began to leak out of the room, unfortunately for them the only exit path meant they had to squeeze through several makeshift rows of seats and skulk right past the man speaking.

This became increasingly amusing to watch, before long most of the room had switched off on the poetry at hand and were simply observing these reddening faces try to quietly shuffle their way out of the room, with each effort though they only made themselves more obvious to everyone who was intent on staying. You know it’s bad when the lecturer has to stop and declare:

Ok, everyone who wants to leave, leave now. That’s right, off you go, now’s your chance.

At this point a whole row of concealed asians rose from the back and in one massive sigh of relief they slipped out like some kind of comical Scooby Doo characters making their escape from a crime scene.

After a flurry of awkward waves and silently mouthed apologies, the poor guy at the front began to talk again. Such a train wreck from the outset. He then told us about a time when he was booked to speak somewhere and only two people showed up, not knowing whether or not this couple had travelled to see them he decided to carry on regardless. All credit to him he was certainly humbling.

One misfortune that happened to myself during a quieter tutorial setting (the difference being a lecture has upwards of 100 people, a tutorial has around 12-15). We’d all sat down, the tutor had begun to introduce this term’s topics and work schedules and, being the studious person I am, decided to open my MacBook to take notes.

In doing so I’d completely forgotten that while getting ready that very morning, I had shut the laptop in my haste to leave and so on opening it I was blasted with whatever I was listening to at the time, full volume. I think it was Paloma Faith’s Can’t Rely On You, the similarities to Blurred Lines are now deeply burnt into my memory banks as the embarrassment very quickly peaked and shattered previously recorded embarrassment levels in the space of seconds.

Lesson learnt, always make sure you close all windows before re-opening your laptop in an academic setting. I’m just glad it happened in a tutorial session with a limited number of people rather than the lecture straight after, that would’ve been so bad I might have walked out in shame.

Well, that’s all for this instalment of lecture shenanigans, hope you enjoyed! Hopefully there won’t be as long a gap between the next one now that I’m back in Uni mode.

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To social network? Or to not social network? That is the question.

I’ve thought a lot lately that social networking these days tells us too much. Even down to how it works, for example some sites show you what people like or what they’re looking at and frankly I don’t want to know.

This has all came to mind because I’m currently trying to not think about someone, I don’t want them in my head, it’s for my own good. Sometimes people just need to drift away for a bit before they can come back (irrelevant, back to social networking) And these platforms are all blasting me with information I could do without. I don’t want to know so-and-so has liked fourteen pictures of the same person AGAIN. Or that that guy has gone and watched so many videos on something I couldn’t care less about.

It isn’t even our fault. We’re going about our daily business and doing whatever we want and these sites are tracking this and sharing that information. Kudos to the people that delve into their settings and turn it all off but most just aren’t even aware of what’s being shared.

Then there are things that are down to the people rather than the sites themselves. Some people are just plain hopeless, there is a difference between liking pictures and SHARING pages and pages of stuff that no one wants to see. When someone purposefully clicks on something to share it with their friends I wonder do they realise just how ridiculous it is sometimes?

An example, one girl on Facebook shares an album entitled McDonalds selfies. In this album there are an array of different poses all taken in the TOILETS. Just WHY? I can understand a bar or a club or something, everyone’s a bit drunk “hey let’s take some pictures“, that’s fair enough, but in McDonalds? Really? Priorities, people. I don’t look at these and think “I wish I was her, her life is so glam.” Sit down and finish your chicken nuggets.

Another example of annoying public declarations is drunken ramblings. Yes, we’ve probably all felt like it at some point, but most of us have the restraint to leave it. There’s one guy on Twitter, never met him, but I know when he’s had a night out because the next day is a constant string of:

“HOW DID I GET HOME?!”

“WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT?!”

“I DONT KNOW WHAT HAPPENNNNNED!!!”

That’s because he looks 15 and he’s acting like a 7 year old with alcohol problems. Why share that kind of information? It only makes him look like an idiot when really he’s probably trying to act like his view of what ‘older’ people do. Sometimes growing up for the sake of growing up isn’t a valid reason for going out and making a fool of yourself.

The opposite of this is quite nice in some respects. Some people barely use Facebook or Twitter for a stream of consciousness and actually use it for SOCIAL NETWORKING, i.e talking to people and being social. Rather than broadcasting their latest fast food photoshoot. This leaves their private life private and their public life pleasant for conversation if ever you might bump into them, as opposed to a very public breakup where the two parties argue on a post and leave 100 comments back and forth. Why not just do that over the phone like you’re supposed to?

Personally I don’t think I’ll ever understand, I think right now for me social networking is a tad redundant. I can’t be bothered, and it leaves me wondering whether or not it’s necessary for day to day life.

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Seriously? On the subway? Part 2.

After quite a considerable length of time where nothing happened at all I found myself leaving the subway a few days ago in stitches. I was worried the subway had dried up of hilarity, I was so wrong.

First up there was a girl eating this big chocolate thing. Don’t ask me what it was because I honestly don’t know, it was big and round, just generally chocolate heaven. Anyways, she was munching away on this big circle of chocolate and I was getting increasingly jealous to the point of planning an impromptu trip to Gregg’s, when she screwed her face up all of a sudden. Now, I certainly wasn’t expecting this, and I had my earphones in so without any added sound to help the image this was quite funny.

Then she sneezed. Visible snot, everywhere.

I mean this lassie covered herself and her chocolate thing, extinguishing all feelings of chocolate envy and appetite in an explosion of mucus. Imagine seeing that happen right in front of you and then watching this girl stare at the very thing she was loving so much, now in absolute disgust. It couldn’t have been funnier, it would’ve been physically impossible, it was perfect.

On the same train journey another girl made a fool of herself. We were pulling up to Hillhead station, everyone was preparing to disembark in the usual disgruntled shuffle  and this girl stands up preemptively. This in itself wasn’t funny, then the train chugged and she was thrown face first into one of the poles you hold to steady yourself.

It was another brilliant moment, by now the snot girl had mopped herself up and had left a stop or two previous, I’d barely recovered in time for this new point of hilarity.

She hit it cheek first and contorted her face in spectacular fashion. Her hair was loose too so there was a fantastic flare going on there too, it went everywhere. I left the station looking like I’d just been shot in the gut, with a bullet made of pure laughs, obviously.

Last example of stupidity for this post was a weird one, whereas the other two were body related malfunctions, this guy was purposefully being weird, rude and just generally a “how did you get out of your enclosure?” kind of a man (to put it bluntly).

Basically, we’ve all seen a train pull up to a platform, it approaches while slowing down and those on the platform get a better gauge of where the doors are going to stop, thus aiding getting onto the train. This lug thinks it’s completely acceptable to stand at the very edge of the platform where the train comes from, claim a door, and drag his wife halfway down the entire length of it so he can be the first to grace it’s welcome.

And that’s not a word of exaggeration, if anything I’m dulling it down.

He held his arms out wide and cordoned off the door and at least two feet around it by pushing people back out of the way. His poor wife, though, she was the one I really felt sorry for. He ushered her in, more like pushed, after the train had stopped and she looked as unamused as the rest of us. I think it’s always great when things happen like that and you can turn to any number of random strangers and share in a look of “what did we just see?!”

So there we have it, part 2 of shenanigans on the subway. Let me know what you think and I’ll be sure to let you know what happens next!

Did you really just…? Lectures, part 2.

So already we’ve had people painting their nails and making rather choice interjections…ahem. Moving on from that, since then there have been a number of questionable activities going on in lectures that I just have to highlight for you kind reader folk!

First up happened a few weeks ago, well, it’s ongoing really. I’m prone to a bit of ‘multitasking’, (you could call it that) or getting distracted…as most would probably call it. So, naturally, while typing away I might just open up Facebook or WordPress to see how the world is getting on and of course I’ll open up a video or two; just the usual stuff: cats squeezing into boxes far too small, large people falling over. It was only recently I realised at the end of a psychology lecture that the entire four rows behind me, all female, had completely switched off on the lecture and were solely focused on joining me in watching a baby eat it’s way out of a watermelon. Cutest thing ever, but I had no idea I had an audience! It was so amusing to turn around and see four rows of “awwh”-stricken faces!

Next peculiarity happened this week. I’d perched myself high up, near the back of a lecture hall so as to avoid awkward lecturer-student eye contact. My friends noticed it before I did, the entire row was shaking in a back and forth motion. It got so bad to the point that you couldn’t write in a straight line. Eventually we singled out one fellow sitting in the row in front that had the same rhythm as our row. His arm was under the desk, all I’m saying.

Ok, he was clearly jittering his leg, but it wasn’t immediately obvious! And yes, I know what you were thinking, reader…and you should be ashamed of yourself!

(We were all thinking it, don’t worry).

Anyway, in the same lecture (once the guy in front got tired) we turned to our right and our eyes fell on a girl, in the middle of the hall, shamelessly KNITTING. Full on killer knitting needles and a big ball of wool just click clacking away! I’d quite happily put that in the bizarre category alongside the lass that likes to paint her nails. What goes through someone’s head to make them think:

Oh, do you know what would be an effective use of my time, now? Catching up on my knitting, winter’s coming after all.

I must say, these quirky folk do make lectures interesting. I certainly have my eyes peeled for more shenanigans going on, leave a comment down below if you’ve ever seen someone doing something that was just plain weird in a rather formal setting. Thanks again for reading!

Seriously? On the subway?

We all witness people doing weird things day to day, most of the time we just wave it off and carry on but, being me, I have to document them. People are entertaining though, you have to admit.

A few weeks ago an elderly party of two men and one woman were at the window buying tickets and the eldest of the three, one of the men, was making quite a fuss. Being in a rush I did what we all do and shuffled on my way but I picked up some complaints going past about the quality of the subway and how efficient it was etc etc. Sometimes the elderly need a refresher, automated ticketing systems are a good thing, this man wasn’t buying it. Just as the man was handed his own ticket, the other elderly man mutters “now, we need two of the same…for us.” and all I could think was: ‘I hope the other two don’t come with added ear-ache.’

It was just my luck that the three of them plodded down the stationary escalator to my side of the platform. After some more unnecessary blethering the eldest clomped his way back up (I assumed to complain some more, no doubt he did on his way). His company soon followed suit and they emerged on the other side of the platform for the other train, missing not only the train on the platform they were originally on, but one for the platform they’d just graced with their presence. The look on his face made my day, it really did. Some people have misfortune coming to them when they treat people with such disregard as he did.

Another more amusing observation from my adventures underground was short and sweet. It was raining above ground, the only thing worse than a subway train full of people is a subway train full of damp people. Anyways, a woman had just crashed onto the platform after flying down the escalator and she was struggling to close her umbrella. In the rush to throw herself into a train she gave up, to her dignity’s peril. The umbrella popped open, throwing the glasses off her face and backwards away from the train altogether. I did feel sorry for this woman but I giggled the whole way to University. It was one of those things you see and has you ricocheting into laughter all day long.

Worst death of dignity witnessed on the subway (so far) I sadly experienced myself. I don’t think I’ve been more embarrassed, ever. Probably an exaggeration but you’ll see why.

I was sitting beside a guy, easily twice my size (I’m not particularly well built, this guy was biiiig). He got up to leave and his keys fell out of his coat. Being the kind soul that I am I reached for the keys and went to indicate to the man that he had dropped them. Unfortunately I just flung out a hand and, without looking, grabbed the first thing that came into contact with it.

His backside.

I just…I don’t even know what one can do in that situation, I flung the keys in his direction in a distracting ‘I actually helped you, please excuse the bum-grab’ manner and got back to reading a book on my phone without acknowledging any kind of thanks (…or more likely horror) from his direction. Never have I been so glad to emerge from a subway train, trailing my dignity behind me in tatters.

The subway can be an altogether stressful experience for all involved. All it takes is a bad day; it’s either your best friend or your worst enemy. Only way to find out is to descend those steps and hope for the best.

Did you really just…? Lectures.

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!