It's nice to see a media storm staying in its teacup, for once

Boeing's shares go up, in spite of everything.

The 787 Dreamliner battery problems have been an ongoing background drone amid the business news for some time, but it looks like the coverage hasn't affected the share price. In fact Boeing shares rose 12 per cent this year.

This could be because Boeing's main business is not the 787, but the 737 - narrower crafts of which they'll deliver 900 in the next two years (as opposed to 200 787s), and of which there are rumors of a $18bn deal this week with Ryanair. Boeing's 2011 to 2014 shipments are also expected to grow an average 15 per cent annually. So if you're a sensible investor, you won't have paid much attention to all the battery stuff.

Still, the usual consensus is that media coverage affects share price far more than it should - not because investors are too gullible, but because they think other investors are. This even extends to twitter/facebook/youtube - at least according to this recent study by Arthur O’Connor, which seems to suggest a clear link between share price and positive social media mentions. (This hedge fund is trying to get in on the act by offering investors "mood analysis" of twitter, which they translate to the stock market. They do this in a fairly crude manner - looking at the frequency of words such as "calm" in relation with certain stocks - but it's an interesting idea.)

Boeing investors are either very strong minded, or haven't been keeping up with the news. Either way, it's refreshing.

A 787 Dreamliner. Photograph: Getty Images
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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood