Bristolian hat-wearers unite

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dance teacher: Wasabi makes you jedder
wendy: Jedder?
dance teacher: yes jedder (demonstrates by shaking her shoulders)
wendy: Oh (signifying realisation), Judder! Where do you come from?
dance teacher: Reading, why?
wendy: (decides not to mention her unusual accent)  I’ve never met anyone who actually came from Reading
dance teacher: where are you from?
wendy: Bristol
dance teacher: whereabouts in Bristol do you live?
wendy: I don’t live in Bristol, I live in Reading
dance teacher: Oh, whereabouts in Reading do you live
wendy: Cemetery Junction

mutually understanding silence

dance teacher: a lot of people wear hats like yours in Bristol
wendy: (pause of disbelief)… I got this little beauty from Jacksons
dance teacher: Jacksons?
wendy: Jacksons, at Jacksons corner in downtown Reading, the shop
dance teacher: Oh

During the evening I put more effort into keeping the conversation going by trying to find out more about the dance teacher. An interesting life; writing a novel, travelled to the US for research where she met some influential dancers. She was given the dance business after she met the previous owners at lessons, the work involved arranging themed hen-night evenings and many more interesting stories.

The teacher looked happy enough, the conversation flowed, while I focussed on her. For a brief moment she appeared to show a interest in me when I mentioned my admirations for the fabulous Josephine Baker. But the conversation almost always felt like hard work, mostly disappointing because of

  • incongruence with my experience of the world “people in their 50’s are too scared to leave the house or go anywhere on their own“. I mainly mix with fiesty fifties.
  • what seemed like an extreme lack of self confidence “I can’t dance“. Yet she teaches it.
  • naivity “I didn’t realise that running a dance business would involve a lot of hard work”
  • lack of an active interest in wendy!

She smiled as she talked, conversation liberally punctuated with self-deprecation and giggles. She was  interesting and some might find her self-deprecation charming.

Bristolian hat-wearers unite
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