I once sat beside a very smartly-dressed middle-aged woman on a crowded bus. She was eating a big bag of popcorn, devouring it actually, she was shoving her hand right into the bottom of the bag and munching and crunching with flamboyant zeal.

As I sat there pretending not to notice the aroma of the popcorn drifted towards me. It had that slightly addictive shop bought snack smell to it, cheese flavoured perhaps, but not in the way cheese actually smells. I almost felt like asking if I could have some too, but by then she had consumed the lot and was holding up the bag to check if any stray morsels were left in it.

I felt rather delighted by her unselfconsciousness and the way she appeared to be acting completely out of character. When we see someone we do tend to form opinions about them according to their appearance.

As the bus lumbered on I wondered if the popcorn lady on the bus was on to something. If she could gobble popcorn like that she might be the woman on the package tour who didn’t go to the museum but flirted with waiters at a palm-fringed cafe….a woman who could belt out ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’…who could up and leave some worthy event because she’d decided there was something she’d prefer to watch on the telly.

As a writer I enjoy such musings. Perhaps she wasn’t like that at all, but she did have a passion for the small, pungent, pleasures of popcorn, and she didn’t care who knew it.

Yes, she was growing older with panache.

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