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Thursday, October 28

Be Thankful For What You've Got

Having just had a lecture where I was bored senseless, I want to quickly write about a few things that I've noticed in my second week of classes. They're not massive, world-changing things, but nonetheless I'm going to write about them.

The first is this random custom of German students at the end of each lecture, when they either all knock on the tables or give a round of applause. Honestly, as soon as the lecturer finishes his last sentence you're deafened by knuckles on wood for about 30 seconds.

Yes, I appreciate that they're thanking the lecturer, but it is very strange for me. Thanking the lecture full stop is very strange for me. We simply don't do it in England. Are we the exception? Are we thus rude?

If you consider that rude, you should try going to one of my lectures. They are all 2 hours long, but it seems that the average German student has an attention span of only 70-80 minutes.

Shortly into the second period of each lecture, especially my Thursday morning Criminal Law one, practically everyone starts talking. And not quietly either. There are numerous conversations at normal volume, which in a room of 150+ people soon adds up to a wall of noise.

I find it quite difficult to follow the lecture anyway, and this exacerbates the problem (everytime I use / see that word I think of Shaun Of The Dead. That's one funny film). This then leads to me switching off completely, as I did this morning. It's even more difficult to zone back in when you've not listened for 30 seconds if everyone else is drowning out the lecturer's voice.

Can they not whisper? It would probably be OK if they whispered and kept relatively quiet, but they are just blatant with their disdain for the lecturer and the other students. This, to my mind, is rude.

Finally, I've found myself, for reasons that I'm not entirely sure of, becoming absolutely fascinated by this blind girl in my lectures. She's in most of them, and I notice her around all the time.

I can't say exactly why it is that I'm fascinated by her. I definitely don't feel pity towards her, more a feeling of admiration. It's absolute chaos in our lecture theatres and in the corridors immediately pre and post each lecture. And that's not to mention the world at large. I have the utmost admiration and respect for anyone who gets through life, and especially for those who are afflicted by something like blindness.

I also find myself being eternally thankful and lucky that all of my senses work. I know you are always just a heartbeat away from something happening to them, but I take them all for granted. We simply don't appreciate how lucky we are to be able to see, hear and speak. We take it for granted, when we really shouldn't.

I would love to speak to her, but I keep thinking of an episode of Off Centre, a crappy American sitcom that I've seen a couple of times. In that episode, there is a deaf girl who turns out to be an absolute bitch towards everyone, almost as a response to the niceness that everyone puts on towards her. It's almost understandable, but at the same time it's exaggerated for the purposes of comedy. I wouldn't think that this blind girl is anything like that, definitely not, but I don't want to embarrass myself either.

After all, how do you start a conversation? "So, how's that blind thing working out for you?" I think not. So, until I can think of something worthwhile and not patronising to say, I'll leave it be.

Can't we all just get along?


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