Why do cities make us rude? 為什麼城市會讓人變得無禮?

In a bad mood? Maybe it's city life that's making us rude and grumpy.
Are cities making us impolite?

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避免眼神交流、踐踏私人空間等等,這些是不是城市居民粗魯行為的範例?我們生活在鋼筋混凝土建成的城市當中,是否已經不知不覺地變得心煩意亂、焦躁不安?本集《隨身英語》探討城市居民容易感到煩躁的因素。

課文內容

Vocabulary: Human behaviour 詞彙:人類行為

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.

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?

詞彙表

claustrophobia 幽閉恐懼症
urban jungle “城市叢林”,都市生活中令人感到不快的部分
city dweller 城市居民
irritable 煩躁的
hot under the collar 惱火的,窘迫的
grumpy 易怒的,脾氣不好的
disregard 漠視
reluctant 不情願的
hyper-vigilant 異常警惕的,高度警覺的
persistently 執意地
eye contact 目光接觸,眼神交流
antisocial 不合群的,不喜社交的
grin and bear 苦笑著忍受,忍氣吞聲
Tube Chat “地鐵聊天”活動
anonymous 匿名的

測驗與練習

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why does the author think he is lucky to live in the countryside?

2. What word is used to mean ‘to travel regularly to and from work’?

3. How might wearing a ‘Tube Chat’ badge help you appear less rude to other people?

4.True or false? We have to be rude to show people we’re in a rush.

5. According to the article, what might stop us saying ‘hello’ to someone?

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The boys were very ______ in class because they went to bed very late last night.

reluctant      irritable      anonymous      hyper-vigilant

2. He ______ turned up late for work so in the end they sacked him.

persistently      persistent      persistable      persisted

3. These days, smoking in a cafe or bar is seen as ______ by many people.

hyper-vigilant      antibiotic      grumpy      antisocial

4. The manager got ______ when the referee disallowed a goal his team scored.

hot over the collar      hot round the collar      hot under the collar      hot collared

5. The party was awful. It was in a small room with too many people – it felt very ______.

disregarded      grumpy      claustrophobic      reluctant

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. Why does the author think he is lucky to live in the countryside?

Because it is relatively calm, not chaotic like the city.

2.  What word is used to mean ‘to travel regularly to and from work’?

Commute.

3. How might wearing a ‘Tube Chat’ badge help you appear less rude to other people?

It shows you are happy to talk to a stranger.

4.True or false? We have to be rude to show people we’re in a rush.

False. Thomas Farley, writer and broadcaster said we’re in a rush but, “It’s not a deliberate disregard or somebody trying to be rude on purpose.”

5.  According to the article, what might stop us saying ‘hello’ to someone?

According to Dr Elle Boag, a social psychologist at Birmingham City University, not making eye contact will reduce the likelihood that anybody will say hello.

2. 請你在不參考課文的情況下完成下列練習。選擇一個意思合適的單字填入句子的空格處。

1. The boys were very irritable in class because they went to bed very late last night.

2. He persistently turned up late for work so in the end they sacked him. 

3. These days, smoking in a cafe or bar is seen as antisocial by many people.

4. The manager got hot under the collar when the referee disallowed a goal his team scored.

5. The party was awful. It was in a small room with too many people – it felt very claustrophobic.

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