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  • There's a man who catches the same train as me every morning. He always says hello, which isn't a bad thing, but quite often follows up with either a snark remark about how I'm always using my mobile phone, or an almost comically 1970s anecdote about how rubbish his wife is, or how she's cross with him. Probably because he stands around the train station telling people she's annoying.
    I really need to not engage with him long enough to get these follow up anecdotes, especially as my people skills at 5.30am are dismal; but not in a punk rock way... oh-ho no. Here's how it went down today:

    "I was in trouble with the wife again yesterday."
    I'm not even looking at him. We've exchanged "Hello", I've looked back down at my feet. He's just the station guy, I am in no way under any obligation to pick this thread up, but in some stupid way I feel that I am obliged. So I give him a "Hmmm?"
    He gobbles up this dangling conversational worm immediately.
    "Football you see, football." I wasn't expecting that to be honest, so I did look at him quizzically. "She doesn't understand that a man... a man... a man who goes to work in an office, he HAS to watch the football, has to watch it, to have something to talk about. She doesn't understand, going on about it all evening she was. But you need to be able to talk about these things, as a man in an office."

    You should know, I'm fairly well spoken, and my voice is on the deeper side; not freakishly so or anything but it's low.

    "Oh right, I see, but, well... I don't think having something to talk about in the work place is necessarily a gender defined problem."

    Could I sound like any more of a prick? Yes, yes I could - because this was not delivered in my normal voice but in a strained and incredibly, ASTOUNDINGLY posh sounding squeak. That's how much more of a prick.
    Apparently I have an irritation triggered early morning defence mechanism of talking like someone on a Radio 4 panel discussion. Not a cool, measured Woman's Hour presenter but a junior MP on Any Questions with too many suppressed secrets pressing against her larynx.

    I was so shocked I have absolutely no idea if he replied and if he did, what his answer was; and I have never been more pleased to get on train to work in my life.

    I think I should wear headphones in the morning from now on.
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