I read a lovely post today by Dianne Gray, http://diannegray.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/give-me-space-man/ which made me laugh and remember an incident that happened a year or two ago. An incident that I am still amused and ashamed by in equal measure.
I had been at an event with my husband and we were clearing up afterwards. You know how it is, people drift away at the end and a hard-core of bods is left to do what needs to be done. Everyone finished the litter pick and the taking down of the fence for the ring and so on. It was a lovely evening and no one was in a special hurry to leave. One of our number had taken a caravan as a base for the team and we stood around in the open awning, nattering. There was someone there I had not met before and we began to chat, as you do. She was very interesting and we struck up quite a conversation.
But she came very close when she spoke and I found myself moving back a pace. Not much, but enough to give a little space between us. She moved too and filled it. Uncomfortable, I stepped back. Again she moved forward. I moved once more and she followed. Almost without noticing, we performed our little dance for about twenty minutes. It wasn’t until my back hit the pole of the awning that I realised: we had turned a complete circle. I had been holding that pole to shake a stone out of my shoe when our conversation began and we had talked our way all around the awning, outside and back again.
I had that little bubble inside – you know, the one where you want to laugh and know you can’t. She wasn’t saying anything even mildly amusing, in fact I seem to remember she was talking about her husband’s illness. It was inappropriate to have a fit of the giggles at that moment and yet inside that was what I wanted to do. I tried to concentrate on what she was saying, to arrange my face. I nodded and frowned and tried to look appropriately sympathetic. I felt bad, I knew I was bad, wicked for wanting to laugh when she was obviously having such a lot of trouble. And it wasn’t helped by the fact that the pole had moved. Or we had. We were off again: the dance had begun once more and we were set to begin a second tour of the tent. I am ashamed to say that the bubble inside me grew.
My husband rescued me. He came to see if I was ready to leave and I was. Definitely. We said our goodbyes and went to find the car. I managed not to explode into laughter until I was inside it. John was perplexed and only mildly amused when I told him what had happened. But I couldn’t stop laughing.
So is it funny? Did he just not see the funny side, or did I get unreasonably amused by something a bit silly? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m with Dianne Gray, I like my personal space. Not too much, but a little. When strangers invade it, I tend to shuffle. Or do my circular dance.
And the picture? It’s a dovecote. Well, I wanted to find something interesting for you that was a circle.