Atta Ikede

June 1, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — attaikede @ 6:03 pm

Sometimes, the bus driver yells and reminds passengers to move to the back of the bus if it starts getting crowded at the front. In some cases (especially in the morning – we daily passengers are a well mannered lot) this reminder is followed by a lot of obedient shuffling which allows 10 more people over the next few stops to stuff themselves into a bus we previously thought was full. Happy travels! In other cases (especially on weekends – weekend riders seem to be clueless) this reminder is followed by nervous glances and on-the-spot shuffling which leads to more yelling, more useless shuffling and more nervous glances until eventually some loud mouth individual declares (loudly) “If nobody’s moving back then I am!” and proceeds to push himself aggressively to the back of the bus. This action usually placates the bus driver who then drives on, only to have to repeat the charade at the next stop.

I’m reading a book called Eats Shoots and Leaves. It’s a book about grammar. It’s a good read – the author doesn’t hesitate to use her vocabulary, the British humour sprinkled throughout is nerdy and amusing, and the grammar points are useful. Did you know there are 8 legitimate uses for an apostrophe?  Egads!

I turned to the About the Author section to well .. learn about the author, and noticed she’d also written a book about rudeness. The title was something like “The extraordinary rudeness of every day people”.

I wonder… can the useless behaviour of the bus riders who don’t move back be considered rude? Maybe it’s a manifestation of excessive politeness instead! For example, when everybody’s just nervously looking at each other, that’s a sign that everybody knows they should move, but because nobody else is moving, nobody moves because it becomes socially awkward to do so. In fact, the one or two individuals who sometimes verbally announce their frustration and push themselves to the back are usually given “the eye” by the people who didn’t move! I’ve noticed this several times…. after such a vocal person pushes themselves along a lot of the other riders just roll their eyes at each other! So .. not only is it polite to become paralyzed when asked to move, it’s kind of rude to actually do something about the paralysis!

After all, being rude means not obeying the rules of society. Maybe our rules have changed and nervously staring at each other is equally acceptable to actually moving when the bus driver asks you to move!


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