The woman sat in front of me spent much of her journey on the phone.
She worked for a hospitality company, and was discussing different types of food that different types of event demanded.
Indeed, as a result of her indiscreet bellowing I learned her unflattering opinions about a colleague, and that certain VIPs at this year's Wimbledon are going to be treated to "roasted English chickens". And she really believed in what she was doing. The sense I got was that her job really mattered to her. That it was her life, her identity. And I wondered when her journey began.
Not her train journey, duh. That began at Euston, like mine. But her journey to the point where she was committed to negotiating the best price for English chickens rather than, y'know, spending her day laying in a field, enjoying the sun, and stuffing her face with Twizzlers.
What led somebody to reach a point in their life when they could really buy into that? Where it meant something. Where it became who she was, not what she does?
She was born unprogrammed, like we all are. She could've been anyone, done anything. Her life could've gone in a myriad of directions. Yet here she was on a train, talking about English chickens. And there I was going to a meeting to do my job - which was a direct result of my own life journey.
What does any of this have to do with Battlefield 1? Stick with me. I'm trying to work something out here.
What we believe in begins the day we're born.
We're indoctrinated into whatever society and community we emerge into. Religion, philosophy, family traditions... whatever is around us becomes our norm.
It's only when we're flung out of our home for the day to go to school that The Machine - society's needs - really starts to get its claws into us.
Schools don't teach us how to be nice to one another, or have fun just for the sake of it. They're flesh factories, a Victorian throw-back. At best we're coughed out the other end to become the next generation of unquestioning, obedient drones. At worst, we emerge busted and bruised.
The unspoken truth is that the emphasis of our education system is on ensuring we can support the infrastructure of our top-heavy society; not one another, or ourselves.
That might seem like an overly cynical view to you, but I see more as idealistic. If we all downed tools and went to live in the woods, civilisation would crumble. The Machine can't afford to have that happen, though. Better to get us while we're young and pliable, and ensure our obedience for as long as possible.
So much of our upbringing is about conditioning us to believe things that serve The Machine. Plugging anxieties and insecurities into our wiring. Conditions of worth that ensure we tow the correct line, and beat ourselves up if we don't.
You can sit on the sofa on a Tuesday lunchtime playing Uncharted 4... but will you entirely be able to silence The Guilt Bell? I probably won't be able to. Sometimes it's easier to give in to the tolling and do what it demands, just to shut it up.
We're taught that our value as human beings is dependent on getting an A in maths, not getting an A in basic decency, or enjoying life. When you meet someone, how often do you ask what they do for a living - as if that truly defines who they are? Our society in the West struggles to quantify our quality of life through anything other than financial wealth; money makes us happy, we're told.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Bhutan's culture is based on spiritual values, rather than material ones. Since 1972, the country has operated a Gross National Happiness philosophy. It's subjective and difficult to quantify, but surely growing up in a society where our happiness is top of the political agenda has to be worth more than growing up in a society where we're encouraged to work until we drop... and feel terrible about ourselves if we don't?
And another of the things The Machine wants us to believe in is blind patriotism and idolatry of the Armed Forces, so that we don't question the wars.
I grew up in a military family. My dad missed National Service so much that he signed up for the Territorial Army.
Most weekends he spent at the local TA centre, or off on manoeuvres in Belgium. Occasionally I'd go along. Play on the trucks and jeeps. It was exciting, Boy's Own Adventure stuff - for him as well as me.
My eldest sister joined the RAF in her late-teens - where she met her first husband, who was in the USAF. I've two nephews who fought in Afghanistan. Both my granddads fought in WW2 - in fact, my dad's dad was just old enough to have been in service during both World Wars; he turned 18, and was conscripted right at the tail-end of WW1.
And that's what I really want to talk about. You know: that trailer for Battlefield 1.
We're all told that the lives of soldiers matter more than anyone. Except, uh... y'know... when The Machine is sending them off to be shot at or blown up or kill other people. Then they're expendable. Except: "Boo-hoo! Boo-hoo! Well at least they died fighting for something. Here, Private Corpse: have a flag and a medal."
I was at Seaworld in Orlando some years ago, and prior to the killer whale show - you know: the one they're shutting down because the whales ate someone, because (who'd have thought it?) those massive creatures go mental if they're kept in a swimming pool - they asked any members of the military to stand up, so that they could be honoured.
We were then treated to a brief video and musical segment, full of stirring patriotism, sunsets, flags and eagles... and the military people got a standing ovation, with several bucket-throated rednecks chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
It made me feel slightly sick. I mean, why didn't I get a video and a standing ovation and rednecks chanting at me? It all seemed a bit unfair. I'd paid my admission fee same as everyone else.
But at least it wasn't the trailer to Battlefield 1. Which made me do a sick. The question is... why? Why did I feel an immediate sense of "Uh... that seems a bit tasteless"?
Do I really care, or do I just tell myself I care? Because I don't think I care. And yet... for a moment, I seemed to care. Which is it, for pity's sake?
THE NOT-SO-GREAT WAR
Due for release later this year, Battlefield 1 takes the series to the First World War. As Blackadder Goes Forth records, it was a war of attrition, much of it spent in the trenches.
There were other fronts around the world, but it's reasonable to say that the so-called Great War was anything but great. It was a meat grinder... which ultimately led to an even worse World War.
To look at the trailer for Battlefield 1 - apparently, it has become the most liked video game trailer ever on YouTube - you'd think it was the most exciting, action-packed, cool-yeah!, conflict in history.
One soundtracked by The White Stripes, because there hasn't been any decent music released in the last 13 years. People get their faces smashed in with shovels and stick grenades by faceless, gasmask-wearing Huns. Biplanes soar like X-Wings. Flamethrowers spew fire, and cannons spit death in synch with the soundtrack.
It pulls out every trick in the book to make the First World War look neat. And it feels like an enormous misstep. And the important word in that statement is "feels". Not "is".
I've got no problem with a First World War-based shoot 'em up in theory, same as I've no problem with a game set in World War 2 or the Middle East.
It would be enormously hypocritical of me to start taking issue with the content of the trailer, when I've enjoyed many first-person shooters based around real conflicts.
As a kid, in lieu of games consoles with realistic graphics, I had toy soldiers. I had an Action Man. My troops never suffered post-traumatic stress. Getting arms and legs blown off was cool. I like war movies. I used to grab branches and run around the woods using them as guns.
Besides, if my nephews - who were in Afghanistan - can continue to play Call of Duty without being offended, I'm not going to get on my high horse either. They can seemingly separate the reality of what they experienced from the video game fiction.
And yet I had a gut reaction to the Battlefield 1 trailer, more than I ever have had to Spec Ops: the Line, or Modern Warfare, or any other contemporary-set war game.
Is that because those wars happened during the course of my adult life, when I was self-aware enough to call their morality and purpose into question? Was it because I grew up subconsciously absorbing the message that the veterans and fallen of World War I should be honoured? Was it just my programming reacting?
Or perhaps I'm not offended by the content of that Battlefield 1 trailer, as much as I am offended that they tried to insult my intelligence. I know that World War 1 wasn't cool. We all know it wasn't cool. It was all trenchfoot and shellshock and mustard gas.
Battlefield 1 isn't some alternate history: it's supposedly meant to portray the First World War that actually happened. And we know it wasn't soundtracked by Seven Nation Army.
I mean, I like the Battlefield games. I'm going to play Battlefield 1 no matter what - not least because it presents a theatre of war that has been hugely underrepresented in games. And that's when I catch myself, and realise what's really bothering me.
What's really bothering me is this: I don't know what's bothering me. Something about the Battlefield 1 trailer made me feel it was a bit iffy... and that's possibly because of the family I grew up in, and because I've absorbed some of that latent military patriotism through the TV and newspapers, and Help for Heroes cake sales.
I've written this big long piece in which I rant about schools, and Bhutan, and English chickens, and I don't really have a conclusion. Reading this article, anyone would think I just went off on some sort of stream-of-consciousness diatribe, without really knowing the point I was making.
Or maybe I do have a point.
If somebody is going to release a game set during World War 1, then I don't want the one that Battlefield 1 appears to be. I don't want bright colours and dumb, visceral action, that appeals to the lowest possible common denominator. I want one that feels real to me. That evokes the muddy slog of the trenches, rather than the stylised romance of video game war.
One that at least has something approaching historical accuracy... that stands as some sort of interactive testament to one of history's most ridiculous conflicts. Rather than something that's had the edges sanded off to ensure it appeals to bucket-throated rednecks.
Battlefield 1 says it's set during World War 1, but nothing of that trailer said World War 1 to me. Not as I understand it to be. So maybe it's not the content I'm offended by, but the fact that they don't appear to have made a World War 1 game that's tailored specifically to my own personal desires.
Which is the most important thing that any game needs to keep in mind.