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My response

What did I do?

So far I’ve had a variety of suggestions, and so far I can confirm that each and every single one of them skipped through my mind.

I could ask him politely and hope he, with a certain amount of embarassment, would take his feet off the seat and apologise for his behaviour.

I could have taken a more aggressive stance in the hope that he would back down. The proximity and position of his knees were the reason behind this thought. Some downward pressure would be all that is required to ‘make my point’.

I could have moved seats, I could have just ignored him.

However I, like some of you, presumed the ticket inspector would’ve mentioned something.

But she didn’t.

And the really annoying thing is that, after that, I didn’t feel I had much choice. If SHE wasn’t going to at least try and ask him to move his feet then he already has an argument to say that “well, she wasn’t bothered”.

So I spent the rest of the journey both quietly fuming and wondering why it was that I felt angry and weak and disillusioned. And for me, that’s the crux of the matter.

HIS actions, and his aggressive nature, both made me stop and wonder what his reaction would be. I decided, through fear, to take the non-confrontational route. Yet that annoyed me too. A double-whammy of disrespect and inconsideration coupled with a knock-on of making me feel … inadequate? Wrong? No, neither of those. All I know is that I end up angry and aggrieved and he probably never even knew, or cared, that his actions were having an effect on someone else.

THAT’S the kind of inconsideration I loathe.

And yes, next time I’m just gonna jump on his kneecaps.

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Last night on the train on the way home, as I settled down with book in hand, a couple sat down across from me. They were a similar age to me, reasonably well presented, and engaged in quiet whispers. At first I took them for a new couple, still at that stage of exploration where nothing beyond the other exists, but it turns out they were just a little tipsy, drunk enough to yield similar results but with the advantage of familiarity.

I was sitting at the window seat, directly opposite the lady of this couple and already I could tell that the ‘gentleman’, sitting diagonally across from me, was anything but. Something about the way he dominated the space between them, the aggressive stance, and clenched fists providing further clues. Snippets of their conversation came and went.

“If yer bruther touches you ai’d smash ‘im”
“No ye wudnae”
“Aye I wud. Fuckin kill ‘im”

And so on.

I had just extracted my headphones from my pocket when he slowly placed his feet on the seat next to me, languorously crossing them back and forth until he was comfortable. I glanced down at his feet, then looked up at him.

Now, I should explain that there is one thing, a pet peeve if you will, that is guaranteed to get my blood boil. It manifests itself in many ways but they all amount to the same thing. A lack of consideration. And here was this drunken oaf, quite happily shuffling his feet about on the seat cushion next to me.

So, with my incredulous rage building, the following thoughts all zip through my brain in a few nano-seconds:

  1. Behind him I see the, female, ticket inspector approaching.
  2. Given his aggressive stance and general demeanour I also sized him up, he was definitely in better shape than me if a little shorter
  3. He’s fairly drunk, and I’m stone cold sober.
  4. I realised I was sitting in a corner and would have to get past him to get out.
  5. In the seats opposite me are two teenage girls pouring over glossy magazines, and a young executive type woman reading a book with a pink cover
  6. We’re only 2 minutes into a journey that takes 27.

What do you think happened next?

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Less Important

Safe in the knowledge that she probably won’t read this (I’m joking!), I thought I’d take something Clare mentioned a while back and see where it lead me. She recently said:

“… come on, admit it, you are a bit full of yourselves sometimes, aren’t you? And you do go on at great length about the most mundane of things (Yup, I know – pot, kettle – well that’s no surprise; I fell into a womb of testosterone when I was a baby). Oh shit. This was a bad idea.”

Note: She wasn’t talking specifically about me, but male bloggers on the whole. I think.

Now I’m fairly au fait with the content of my blog, although not as much as you’d think as I have a terrible memory – quote a post of mine from 2004 and I’ll be left wondering who wrote such wonderfully insightful and beautiful prose – so I thought I’d dissect what Clare mentioned, and distill it down until we get something approaching a possible reason as to why us males do this.

But then I realised that would be utterly mundane and may make me seem like I think I’m important or something, so I won’t bother.

Seriously though, in the midst of all this gentle ribbing lies a very valid point. Of the short list of blogs I read every day, the majority are female, and the majority are written about personal thoughts and emotions. Yet, despite that, this blog, my tiny corner, rarely takes that approach. Why?

When I first started out it was all about me, then I discovered Blogger and it was all about the fact I could post all day, every day and the quality of content dipped to one-liners about the weather. It took me a couple of years to get past that stage and these days, some eight years later, I’ve matured enough to realise that I do enjoy writing here, and I enjoy people reading it. The comments are reward enough, particularly when a post that I value generates a healthy discussion.

With that maturity comes a greater awareness of who I am and, possibly more importantly, who reads this site. Self-censorship becomes envitable and I find myself deliberately focussing away from myself and, by extension, from others. A few recent events in our family have gone unmentioned here, and I rarely blog about “people” in anything except general terms. Admittedly I don’t socialise often these days, so subject material can be thin on the ground. I’m also loathed to comment on recent national news items as others do it so much better than I, and anyway, it always takes me a wee while to get my head settled and my point of view established, by which time the discussion has moved on.

That said I don’t struggle, too often, for something to write about and if I do there is always some good old fashioned plagiarism (also known as “memes”). Mind you, even then I find it easier to dis-associate myself from my self, a trick that has served me well in difficult times in the past.

This is not a plea for help or prompt for suggestion, just a pondering on my part.

My growing inability in this area is thrown into sharp relief when you consider the quality of personal/emotional writing that was (and will be) uncovered by mike’s POTW competitions, with the nominations comprising solely of the aforementioned style of writing and with a focus on personal emotion and experience. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them, but having held up my own output and finding the reflection dimmed and distant, I do feel the tang of envy.

Gosh, this is all getting a bit morose, that wasn’t the intention at all. Not to mention I’m starting to waffle and, by the gods, it’s more mundane than a mondeo.

I’ll stop now, and contemplate this further in my removed self. Feel free to ignore this post. Lord knows I probably will (presuming I every publish it, although this set of parenthesis is going to look jolly silly when I do).

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