We established some time ago that I'm something of a curmudgeon when it comes to travelling (see here and here). Yes, sad to say that I live up to the stereotype of the London commuter - self-absorbed and completely uninterested in their surroundings with an almost pathological determination to get home by whatever the quickest possible means may be. In actual fact, I would say that it goes slightly further than disinterest - I actively discourage people from interacting with me while I travel. That's my reading and music time, my time to catch up on two things that I would otherwise not necessarily find the time for. And woe betide you if you try to deprive me of that time.
Unfortunately, every one week in three, I need to make some minimal form of human contact when I travel into work. For, on that third week, we work an early shift that requires us to be in the office for 6 a.m. Yes, there's a 6 o'clock in the morning now. Now, I am not a morning person. In no way, shape or form have I ever nor will I ever be described as such. I am the Lex Luthor of the evening to the Superman of the morning. Well, you get the idea - I don't like mornings.
Now, because we need to be in before a time that decent London Transport reasonably runs, work very kindly transports us in. And this is where the human interaction comes in because, for half an hour at a time of morning when I can barely manage grunting, I am in the company of another human being who is driving me to the office. Nine times out of ten, this is absolutely fine. Other than a polite "good morning", they no more want to exchange banal small talk with me than I do with them. I stick my earphones, they stick the radio and everyone is happy in their non-talking bliss.
There's always that one in ten, though. The one who is a morning person. The one who wants to engage you in conversation. Who is bright and chirpy and chipper and provokes in me an uncontrolled annoyance and grumpiness. I know it's not the way to be. I know it's the way to make friends and influence people. But I can't help it. It's like those times when you're in an irrational and unaccountably foul mood and someone comes up to you, all cheerful-like, and says, "Cheer up, it might never happen" or "It takes more effort to frown than to smile, you know". The skin begins to turn green and the inner Hulk begins to burst through the seams...
They always try those opening conversational gambits that it's hard to completely dismiss - the main two being "You house is difficult to find" (our front is kind of tucked away from sight of the road so this is true but doesn't really merit discussion) or "which way would you prefer to go?" (fair enough, you want to know if there's a preferred route but you're the one who does this driving lark for a living, you pick a route). Eventually, though, with enough persistence to generally non-committal and monosyllabic answers, you can get the point across that you're really not an early morning conversation kind of guy and the earphones can go in.
This morning, though, noncommittal wasn't quite enough and I had to deploy the big guns - feigning sleep. It's the last resort of the early morning curmudgeon and also meant that I didn't get to listen to my tunes on the way in.
Maybe I should try to change. I mean, is it so bad that someone just wants a bit of polite conversation to make their working day go past quicker? Wouldn't it help the world be a slightly better place if we all did our bit to pass on a bit of good cheer every now and then instead of gloom and doom?
Nah, sod all that hippy shit. I want to listen to my tunes in the morning. Bloody cheerful morning people. Ought to be outlawed, I tells ya. Mutter, mumble, grumble, mutter, mumble, grumble....