Every week there is a guy who comes to one of my tutorials late. Every week he is late. He shrugs and smiles a sweet smile to the tutor and sits down. Then he gets his iPad out. He spends the remaining 40 minutes of the tutorial checking Facebook, looking at his diary, re-checking Facebook, checking his e-mail, re-re-checking Facebook before finally putting all his things away noisily with five minutes left of the tutorial. He huffs loudly when he sees something he disagrees with on Facebook. He shakes his head when he sees that a lecture clashes with a pub crawl. He never takes notes and I would be amazed if he actually listens.
He seriously winds me up. His iPad use is distracting when he is not using it simply to type notes on. If we were in a lecture, I would probably forgive his behaviour. It is far less distracting in a large room. We are in a small room with, at the most, fifteen people in it. He is paying for the tutor to teach him. He is incurring debt for the time that he sits there not listening. In my mind, this is just disrespectful to both to tutor and his fellow students. But the thing which annoys me most is his arrogance and egotism. His actions show that he places himself above us, on some high pedestal where he reigns over us. He doesn't need to listen. He is better than us.
It made me question levels of rudeness and whether or not they exist. I know that when someone in my common room drinks my milk without buying another one, I get frustrated. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold a door open for them I find that rude. When people take from you but do not give back, babysitting for example, I think they could at least offer, even if you don't take them up on it. There are so many ways a person can be rude or behave without manners which could upset or frustrate another. I know that when I am driving I sometimes think that I should have paused and let someone in, but didn't and then feel bad for a millisecond.
I was reminded the other day of the time I got a nosebleed on an overground train in London. I was travelling home, alone in a half-full carriage during the day. It was a pretty full on nosebleed and I had no tissues. People edged away from me and moved into different carriages. Not one person asked if I was OK or offered me a tissue. It wasn't long before a small puddle of blood was forming at my feet. There was now not one person in the carriage I was in. I walked through to the next carriage and said very loudly, and a little too sarcastically, 'it's OK thanks, I don't need a tissue'! At this point, the packed carriage rummaged through their respective bags and unsurprisingly gave me tissues. I know that in London you are not meant to help or look at other people. I believe it is an unwritten rule which you accept when you move to London, but does that justify it? Of course it is convenient, it means you do not get involved and you stay safe. But ignoring someone bleeding is pretty rude.
What do you think? Is there any justification for being rude or having bad manners? Are there levels of rudeness, some which frustrate you more than others?