There's this woman who gets on my train. I don't see her every morning, but I do see her most mornings. I get on at Streatham Common and one stop later, she gets on at Balham.
She's small, and has a little old lady short curly hair-do, and wears powder and spectacles. Not glasses. They are most definitely spectacles. She wears sensible flat shoes with buckles on, and always, always, always wears a beige mac and a wee checky scarf. She carries one of those nylon shopping bags that Nanas have been using since before reusable shopping bags were trendy.
This isn't why I don't like her. I mean, there's no excuse for an ugly handbag, but it's not a reason to dislike a person.
The first time I noticed her, she was sitting next to me, and busying around with her purse (one of those wide flat ones in tan with a metal clasp and a smell of peppermints) and her driving licence dropped out onto my lap. As I handed it back to her, I saw her birth date. 1954. She's 56. FIFTY SIX! Read the description above again. Are you picturing a 56 year old? NO! She is seven years younger than my mother, and yet I had her pegged as someone at least ten years older.
This isn't why I don't like her either. I'm no fashion icon, and I might be a little more frumpy than I could be, but I don't think I look 50! But still, it would be mean to dislike her for that, no?
The reason I dislike her is that she uses her old-lady-lookingness to get a seat on the train. Can you believe it!? What a rotten trick!
There are always rather more people on the train than there are seats for them, and so there are always people standing up in the aisles and around the doors. Obviously it's always nice to sit down, given the choice, but it's only a fifteen minute journey, so if there's no seat, it's not the end of the world. This is the mentality of almost all the people on the train.
Not the "old" lady though. OH NO! She gets a seat every morning, the "old" troll. I've started watching her when she gets on now. She stands amongst the seats then starts muttering. The muttering attracts people's attention to her, and when someone then offers her a seat thinking she's genuinely old, and not just badly dressed, she manages to look peevish about it.
So that's why I don't like her. Not because she's old and has an ugly bag. Not because she's not really old, just badly dressed. Not even because she gets a seat every morning. But because she has the nerve to try it on every day, and wins!
So tell me. Is is wrong to actively dislike a little old lady?