Don Your Way column: It's good to talk - but spare me the details of the sex behind Lidl!
These days, I spend a lot of my time using public transport.
Consequently, it means you have little choice in who you end up sharing the start and end of your day with.
In the car, you can slap on the radio and drift into your own little world, having a little sing song as you ease into the working day or unwind on the journey home.
On a train, its different.
While you’re invariably travelling with the same set of commuters, each day can be a lottery on who you are going to end up alongside.
Ideally, you’ll get a bookish, quiet type who’ll spend the journey curled up in the pages of their novel. Or you might land the modern equivalent - someone who just sits there gently scrolling through Facebook or Twitter or whatever on their phone.
But then there’s the ones at the other end of the scale.
The ones with big headphones who subject you to a tinny “tchkka-tchkka-tchkka” soundtrack, as frustrating as it is annoying as you try and work out exactly what they are listening to.
Sometimes you get the chatters, the ones who want a little bit of tittle-tattle as the train clunks towards its destination.
And that’s not to mention the lairy, loudmouth drunk talking to no-one in particular while everyone avoids eye contact that I sometimes have to suffer.
However, the worst of the crop have to be the callers, the ones who bawl and yell into their mobiles, Dom Joly style - ensuring that you hear every last cough and spit of their conversation.
“It’s good to talk,” as the late Bob Hoskins used to inform us on those BT adverts back in the 90s - a sentiment I largely agree with.
But not when I’m being subjected to it at close range at 7.30am of a morning.
In recent weeks I’ve had the full works.
Medical procedures described with no lack of attention to detail, the (excuse the pun) ins and outs of sexual encounters graphically described (including one woman happily telling her friend of a romantic interlude behind Lidl) and marital break-ups and disharmony (“I’m going to tell Paul he’s dumped) - yes, you are, along with a packed carriage of rail commuters hanging on your every word.
There’s a time and a place for these kind of calls - and trains and buses aren’t that place.
It seems that people are sometimes blissfully unaware of their surroundings and when its appropriate or not to divulge their personal lives to all and sundry. If I take a call that needs to be taken privately, I’ll wait and call back.
Facebook has helped add to this culture of overshare with people quick to plaster their space on the web with everything under the sun.
I realise that my grumblings won’t change a thing and I can no doubt look forward to hearing more lurid stories on my journeys for days, weeks, months and years to come.
I must get some earplugs.