"So, are you going to be marching tomorrow?"
I was asked this two days ago by the man who came to replace our car windscreen (irritatingly chipped while driving down the French motorway). For a minute I wasn't sure what he was on about - surely tomorrow was the first of April? Then I remembered the protests set to take place in the City around the G20 meeting.
"Er, no," I told him. "I'm going to be working tomorrow."
He smiled. "Yeah, so am I. Good on them, though."
I related this to The Doctor later and his (slightly teasing) response was: "You must have looked like the kind of person who goes on protests."
I wasn't sure whether to take this as a compliment. On one hand, it means that I obviously don't come across like the kind of 4x4 driving, well-dressed yummy mummy whose hubby works in the City and who would be horried by the thought of getting her hands dirty at a protest march. (Well, the guy was fixing our Skoda at the time, so he knew that). Dressed scruffily for working at home, I probably looked more like the kind of Guardian-toting hack that would get out there and wave placards. Still, I did begin to wonder if I could do with a haircut and a new pair of jeans....
And yet. I may (sometimes) be a Guardian-toting hack, but I've never been on a protest march in my life, I realised. At University, my generation of students was always the one accused of apathy; we'd sign a petition against raised tuition fees, but if it meant missing another hour in bed to hold up a placard, forget it. Maybe if I'd been a member of the 60s generation protesting against Vietnam I'd have marched, but when it came to Stop the Iraq War, well, I was too busy, first working and then having children, to get on that particular bandwagon.
When it comes down to it, I am not even sure that protests of the G20 kind achieve much. I do have some sympathy with the cause - I too am outraged at Fred Goodwin's pension - but is smashing the windows of RBS really going to help? And even if I did feel strongly enough, I'd be far too scared of getting caught up in a riot.
But maybe I should change my attitude: get out and reclaim the streets before I hit my late 30s?
Is going on a protest march something that everyone should do once?