Civility Costs Nothing

Seeing who’s in the ticket booth at the station each morning always adds a touch of excitement to the start of the day. Today, it turned out to be the surly woman who never looks up and gets really annoyed if you don’t hear her first time. The cheery chap in front of me in the queue had clearly not encountered her before.

“Return to Central, please”, he said cheerily to the top of her head. Her lack of response caused him to attempt to lubricate the verbal transaction with some typical Glaswegian small talk.

“It’s colder again, isn’t it?”, he said breezily. A reference to the weather is a surefire way of engaging any Glaswegian stranger, no matter how surly, in a full-blown conversation.

The surly ticket woman looked up.

“It’s colder again, isn’t it.” repeated the cheery man, equally cheerily and slightly louder.

The surly ticket woman continued to look blankly at him from behind the bullet-proof screen.

I willed the cheery man to quit while he was ahead, but he wasn’t going to give up.

“It’s colder again, isn’t it.” he said even louder, and just slightly less cheerily.

“Aye, all right pal, I heard you the first time.” said the surly ticket woman. “Next.”



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