I was born and brought up in one city. We'll call it city B. I still live there now, as it happens. Whatever the DNA of a nomad looks like - I have the opposite.
For the last 13 years I've worked quite happily in another city about 25 miles away. For the purpose of this story we'll call it city C.
I am aware at some level that city B and city C each have football teams. I'm not exactly a huge football fan. If someone uses very small words I can just about get the drift of the offside rule. Which is odd, as I'm passionate about rugby, with rules as arcane as anything you'd find inside a Quidditch arena.
Anyway. I digress. The respective football teams from B and C rarely face each other, mainly because C's team has been inhabiting a lower league due to a temporary (ahem) issue with form. But on Monday evening they played against each other. A local derby.
Incidentally, what do they call it when two teams from Derby play each other? Sorry, I'm doing it again.
So teams from B and C played each other. And given that, every day, I'm surrounded by people from C, who know I'm from B, there were attempts at banter. To me, it was like water off a duck's back. But not for G.
G works with me. He, also, is from B. And he supports B's football team. A lot more closely than I do. There was a lot of banter between him and his C colleagues. A lot was riding on this one match.
He was watching the match on Monday night. I know this, because I got this text message from him on Monday evening:
I was just guessing, but from this message I suspected the game hadn't gone B's way. A quick check told me that B had, as per their long and illustrious history, snatched defeat from the jaws of a boring draw.
I could have been sympathetic to G's fears. He was facing several days of hell from jubilant C fans. I know how football fans can take this sort of thing really seriously. I could have been a supportive boss.
I thought long and hard before replying:
There are probably management textbooks that'll carry this story before long.