I've touched on this before: the logorrhoea of some of the upper middle classes, the effusive politesse that topples over into parody.
This morning I stood back to let a woman through a shop door.
"Oh, that is kind of you!" she said. "Thank you so much!"
Now, if I had paid for her Sunday papers, then taken her home and cooked her a full English breakfast, washed and 'valet-ed' her Range Rover while she was eating it, then tied her to my bed with one of my newly-discovered thin Sixties ties and rogered her until lunchtime before sending her home to her husband with a gift-wrapped box of Ferrero Rocher, then an appropriate response might have been: "Oh, that is kind of you! Thank you so much!"
But I only let her through a doorway ahead of me. I would have been quite happy with "Thank you". Or, as the paper boys and girls say to me when I similarly prioritise their egress (women and children first is our family motto: I'm descended from seafarers, you know) "Cheers, mate."
What torrent of words would pour from that woman's mouth if you saved her Labrador from drowning in the village brook? She'd be thanking you from Harvest Festival till Christmas.
Also this morning, I discovered another reason not to lament that I shall never hear that two-tone cry of 'Da-ad!'
The Sunday papers are now so heavy that I saw some paper boys and girls being collected from the newsagent in their parents' cars and chauffeur driven on their paper round.
The Victorians were more sensible. When they sent little boys up chimneys their fathers didn't sit on the roof winching them up on ropes with a mobile shower unit on standby in the Squire's garden.
I may have given you the impression that I am not currently in a relationship. I now realise this was not strictly true and must apologise.
I realised my mistake when I read a letter from the Managing Director of British Gas in yesterday's Money Guardian. He said that British Gas were very proud to have 'some 24 million customer relationships'.
Not so long ago he would have simply said that they have 24 million customers.
Having 24 million relationships takes promiscuity to astronomical levels. But I myself have relationships with any number of corporate giants and in many cases it's a bit like a long-term marriage. I stay with them through apathy and laziness, despite the fact that I could find a cheaper partner elsewhere. British Gas come and give me a cursory service once a year, for which I pay them an absurd amount of money. I continue to do so from superstition: the conviction that as soon as I cancel the agreement my boiler will explode.
The one occasion that I demanded more from our relationship, an impertinent youth told me I could repair a radiator myself if I had something called an 'Alan Key'. I replied that I had neither an Alan Key nor a Colin Key. Someone called Graham had once given me his front door key but I had returned it, fearing that things were getting too serious. The teenage gas representative made his excuses and left and the bathroom radiator remained as cold as my erstwhile relationship with Graham.
Perhaps the people in most urgent need of relationship counselling are the water companies. They have again been telling us that huge amounts of water could be saved if we didn't leave the tap running while brushing our teeth. Meanwhile, their own crumbling infrastructure is leaking billions of gallons of water almost as fast as dividends are lining the pockets of their shareholders.
It's a bit like a wife criticising her husband for having a couple of beers in the pub every night whilst she is sitting at home guzzling several litres of Lambrusco.
I mentioned the other day that the new format Guardian is frequently missing some of its sections and that I had telephoned their call centre.
It's only fair to say that the call centre staff were friendly and helpful. They didn't put me on hold or make me listen to the Four Seasons and they didn't call me 'yourself'.
Moreover, when they said they would post me the missing section, it was no idle promise. It was sent First Class and arrived the next morning.
It would have been even more impressive if they hadn't sent me the wrong section.
Why does life have to be like this?
More consumer news: those clever people at Messrs Heinz have launched a new Tomato Ketchup bottle with a 'Stay Clean Cap' that doesn't clog.
I am pleased to report that it works superbly well. The sauce gushed forth in a forceful, uninterrupted flow.
This may be nit-picking on my part, but the sauce issued from my bottle at a right angle, completely missing my chips and covering my shirt in ketchup.
Maybe it was just a rogue bottle, the condiment equivalent of the Jewish man who had been circumcised by a Rabbi with Parkinson's and spent his life pissing over other men's shoes. But of all the ketchup bottles in all the supermarkets, why did I have to buy that one?
I say again, why does life have to be like this?