Of course this cylinder of despair morphs into an even more tyrannical canister of awful when you have a cold. I wouldn't call myself a germophobe. I once ate a mud pie as a child and, although my mother looked upon this act less than favourably, it was not an experience that caused me any long lasting harm.
I also briefly held the crown in primary school of Most Voluminous Ant Eater after placing several, one after the other, on salt and vinegar chips and wolfing them down. I rode this wave of fleeting popularity into Year 7 and discretely used it as my platform on which I ran for School Captain and won. Those were the heady days of meaty policy issues.
My point being: germs have done me no harm, really, and - in fact - have afforded my early career in politics the springboard it so rightly deserved.
But I don't handle colds well and am acutely aware of my own germs when I have one. This makes riding on the train a particularly harrowing experience.
I have never taken well to blowing my nose in front of other people. As a child I would crawl into boxes and ventilation shafts to avoid doing it around anyone, my family included. I once fell asleep during a rather forceful nose blow and my family found me much later with my head resting in a dirty tissue, wedged in a kitchen cupboard.
I've carried this snotty inferiority complex into adulthood and the thought of blowing my nose on a crowded train is tantamount to being the person responsible for taking all the pretty ponies to the glue factory while hordes of young girls watch on. You might think this is melodrama. This is legitimately how I feel.
But anybody who has attempted to delay a necessary bodily function will tell you, there is only so long you can abstain for. Then it becomes an impossible choice between blowing your honker or letting it slowly, awfully, creep down your nostril.
At this point I feel keenly the presence of those around me. I indulge in fanciful daydreams about a better world where I have no nose and instead it is replaced by a sign that says 'nothing to see here people, move along'. I weigh my options. Blow trumpet. Let drip. Manufacture miniature hang-glider from tissue paper and paperclips and spring to safety.
All terrible options, really. So I just blow my nose. Quietly.
Of course this does nine tenths of fuck all and you're right back to square one again two minutes later. What are you Rick? Man or mouse? Blow your nose proudly! My inner monologue is a hetero-normative Queenslander with pride issues, by the way.
So I blow it. Loudly.
The heads of the fellow commuters swivel 180 degrees on their terrible necks just to stare at me. Their eyes are boring into the very essence of my being, clearly affronted. They're looking at me, as if to ask: "It was you that shot Bambi's mother?"
I imagine them all breaking out in a chorus of "Bambi Mother Killer!" chants and children bursting into tears because obviously I am just the worst person in the world. Even worse than that person who invented Vuvuzelas. Yes. Even worse.
And I briefly consider spontaneously combusting.
I hate colds.