The weeks in captivity had sickened me of Piddledorf. Ordinary petty burghers had been coming up to me, to offer gratuitous "advice", sometimes several times in one day. Do it this way! Don't do that! You shouldn't be walking on the grass, Wrong way! Go back! I'm before you! Don't put that there! Look where you're going! Do it properly! Shower before the pool, not after!
The best one was this demand, from a punter in the no-clothes sauna, delivered to the cellmate: take off your swimsuit! (And he stood over her while she complied).
But then I noticed the businessman sitting in front of me, muttering into his mobile phone. I looked at the sign above his head, "No Phoning". Something exploded in my head. I got up and pulled at his sleeve. He said into his phone "hang on a minute". I pointed at the sign.
He whined: "but people are allowed to talk!"
I said (and I quote): "Just TURN IT OFF! Jesus, some currants want to make up their own rules! I mean, are we in effing Bavaria or not?"
He shut off his phone, picked up his briefcase, and moved quickly to another carriage.
I sat there for some time, congratulating myself. If these people can dish out the rules, well they can effing well abide by them!
About half an hour later, the victorious feeling faded and it dawned on me that I had behaved just like the rest of them, smugly forcing rules down other people's throats. I felt disappointed, and a little ashamed. He had actually seemed like a nice guy, and I had made him so uncomfortable that he couldn't stand being in the same carriage.
So I got up and walked down the train to look for him. When I found his seat, he looked up, warily.
I said: "I want to apologise. I over-reacted."
He touched my arm and said "I accept your apology gladly".
I thanked him and left him to it. Justice was done. I had shown that I was better than that.