Why do cities make us rude?
I count myself lucky to live in the relative calm of the countryside, a safe distance away from the chaos and claustrophobia of city life. However, I have to venture into the urban jungle every day to work and it's then that I realise how rude city dwellers can be.
Maybe I'm being unfair. Not everyone comes from the city - many of us commute from somewhere else and, together with a large number of tourists, we are all squeezed into this small space - so it's no surprise that we get irritable and hot under the collar.
Competing for a space on the Tube train or bus is only one of the reasons that makes us grumpy. Our rush to get into the office and home again means we have no time to make conversation with other people: we are driven by efficiency. Thomas Farley, writer and broadcaster explains that, "We're in a rush, we're off to a meeting, to a luncheon… and I don't think it's a bad thing, I just think we need to be mindful that it's not a deliberate disregard or somebody's trying to be rude on purpose." So we are not trying to be rude, we just have something important on our mind to think about.
Cities can, however, be scary places - especially if you're not used to them and this can make us reluctant to start a conversation. We might be hyper-vigilant thinking that the person next to us is going to kill us or worse still, get into conversation with us! Dr Elle Boag, a social psychologist at Birmingham City University, agrees that people can view cities as threatening places. She says, "We're persistently looking for potential threats around us, and this then makes us not give eye contact, this will reduce the likelihood that anybody will say hello." She calls this our 'protective mechanism' which is another way that makes us appear antisocial.
Perhaps if we did start talking more to each other we may realise that our fellow train or bus passenger is actually quite normal with the same concerns and that if you have to grin and bear the pressures of city life, at least you can do it together. In London, a group called 'Talk to me London' is trying to encourage just that. They have created 'Tube Chat' badges which you can wear to show you're happy to talk to a stranger.
也许，如果彼此间交流变得更多，人们就会意识到，一起乘坐火车或公共汽车的其他乘客实际上也有同样的担忧，这很正常。如果不得不微笑着承受城市生活的压力，至少大家可以一起承受。在伦敦，一个名为“Talk to me London”的组织正试图鼓励这样做。他们发明了“地铁聊天”徽章，戴上它就表示你很乐意和陌生人聊天。
But of course, you may choose to live in the city in order to be anonymous - to blend in with the crowd - and not have to talk to people! Maybe that's the benefit of living in the city: you can be who you like - and as rude as you like. Do you think people in your city seem to be rude?
hot under the collar
grin and bear