With the advent of the blog- and Twitterspheres, it’s not news that we all share far more about ourselves than ever before. Without them, I doubt that a frankly mind-boggling (but very flattering) number of total strangers would know quite as much as they do about my love life, Colin’s total defiance towards all forms of discipline and my dependence on large glasses of gin.
But that said, it’s not just online that we all give away hundreds of snippets of information on a daily basis - we disclose little pieces of ourselves simply by being. It’s something I’ve noticed having joined the commuting masses travelling into London from Home County every day.
Simply by sharing the regular journey back in the evening, I have learnt far more than I would thought possible about one of my fellow commuters.
Given that he and I have never exchanged more than a couple of words (and those mainly consisting of “no, after you,” and “are you finished with that paper?”), the amount I now know about him, merely by sharing a space for forty minutes a couple of times a week, is bizarre:
He, like me, lives in Home County Town, but works in London.
He lives on the opposite side of the town, but still within walking distance of the station.
He’s in his thirties, and is married with a young baby.
He’s left-handed, and likes to write. On anything available. In fountain pen.
He’s got a job that involves huge amounts of spreadsheets, but no suits (he favours cords over chinos).
He likes to read trashy male fiction.
He has asthma.
He isn’t too bothered, but prefers a forward-facing seat if there’s a choice.
In fabulous case of nominative determinism, his surname is Devine. It really does suit him.
Of course, on top of that, there’s far more that I could make a wild guess about: I think he probably comes from a well-heeled family, and went to a public school and a red-brick university. I imagine he voted, and voted Conservative, on Thursday. I’d take a stab, and say that he’s into his sport: a rugby person, but also likes football. He probably isn’t too bothered by cricket, nor music. And this might be casting aspersions on the poor chap, but there’s something about him that strikes me as the type to read the Guardian.
All of which makes me think that between wandering around, caught up in the routine of my everyday life, and sticking some of the more peculiar happenings on the interwebs for all and sundry to read, there are people out there who probably know far more about me than is healthy for anyone. For which I can only apologise.