I was sitting on the bus, reading my book and experiencing the onset of menstruation, when a colleague collared me in an urgent fashion. She ushered me to the back of the bus so that we could sit together and then said, under her voice, like she was a new member of the Secret Service who hadn’t yet learnt how to deliver top secret information without looking like that’s what she was doing, “Did you know…” (hands cupped over ear, furtive glance around bus, lower voice) “that I’m pregnant?”

My first reaction is “No. I barely know you and although we call each other colleagues, we work on completely different sides of town. Why are you on my bus anyway?” But I say, “That’s great, congratulations. Four kids eh? Who’d have thought it?” And then I realise that there was no point at which I’d have bothered to think it, but I am really empathising with her now like she’s the five year old girl in the playground wishing for four kids and now she’s living the dream. Genuinely, I’m pleased for her.

But then she says, “And my husband, I don’t know what’s wrong with him, but he keeps texting me and telling me how amazing and beautiful and wonderful I am for carrying his child. He tells me I’m talented and that he’s completely in awe of me for doing this all again.”

“Really?” I say, eventually, about 5 or 6 bus stops after she started praising herself vociferously,”wow”, but I wanted to say “It’s rather remarkable that you can tell me quite how super you are for 6 bus stops. I’d struggle to find enough to say about myself in the distance between the driver and front seat. Your egotistical rant is making me much less inclined towards your good news.”

The thing is, I get on with this colleague very well. I like her, which is why I was genuinely suprised at her lack of humility. I also get that there’s no way she could know how difficult it is for the rest of us taking longer than a gnat’s life to conceive. But what I am doing right now is rallying against a state of being that leaves an otherwise normal person completely lacking in humility and her husband drooling pathetically in her wake. Particularly if if it’s not happening to me.

I believe my state of being is commonly termed “bitter as a Bendicks bitter mint.”

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