There is nothing like a niggle to set your teeth on edge, destroy your composure, and put the rot into the best of friendships. Though i am learning not to let stuff get to me QUITE so much as once it did.

And i am also learning to bring stuff out into the open where, like the blood-sucking vampire of a thing that it is, the niggle usually shrivels and quickly dies. As today.

Meeting over at megacorp (finance division). I’ll pass on the black suit culture which, after some years doing journalistic stuff and hanging around Westminster, i’d quite forgotten about. Apart from mentioning just how scary it can be, en masse.

Mr Smith – as in the Matrix Smith – goes to town. Or rather, the city. Enough: its spooking me just thinking about it!

It was a lovely, constructiove happy meeting and I’ll not fault my host in the least. For what follows is as much about my paranoia as anything she didn’t do.

Confirming the meet by e-mail, she dropped in a line about how good the loos in the reception area were. Huh? What’s that about? Am i being subtly separated from the masses, in case a lady of trans history in the ladies might give their staff the vapours? Or was it subtle friendliness. A fear that i might be embarrassed about asking and therefore heading the issue off at the pass before i needed to do so?

Or none of the above?

Which i rather think it was.

But still, it niggled. And because it niggled, i had to mention it: it needed to be mentioned. Because if i didn’t mention it and clear it off the table, it would lie there forever more. A none too subtle elephant bulking out the room.

Only if i mentioned it, might i give offence? Or even if i didn’t give offence, would it then look as though i had been offended, thereby putting HER on the back foot.

Eeek! Is everyone’s life this difficult? Or is it just me?

Well, in the end, i mentioned. She laughed and explained she hadn’t given it a thought and it was something she said to all her visitors and…yes: sorted.

All slightly reminiscent of a certain froideur i had with a close friend about a week ago, as out and about, doing coffee and goss, she said something that felt quite hurtful.

Only i knew it wasn’t.

And she got that maybe she’d spiked me, and instantly apologised. But it still niggled.

Enough for me to find it hard to get back to sensible other conversation because this evil THING was perched at the back of my mind. Even though i knew it was nothing.

So a few sentences later it HAD to be mentioned, of course. And her second apology was even more profuser. Except, in the end, clearly it niggled at her that i should even think she could have meant what i’d asked her about. So after a bit more conversation, she had to tell me off.

So clearly, its not just me.

Is this unhealthy? The pre-occupation probably is. But on the other hand, the fact that such pre-occupations get cleared away quickly, easily must nbe positive. And since i can see little hope of eliminating niggles altogether in the near future, i’ll happily settle for them being swiftly resolved.

jane xx


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