TL:DR - I have no idea what just happened or how I should feel about it
So I’d been cleaning the house this morning, and since it’s nice outside I thought I’d treat myself and go buy lunch. Decided to stretch my legs while I was at it so I ended up having a walk and going into a Tim Hortons that I don’t usually pass by.
I’m making my order, and the girl behind the till does this little ‘take’. It’s a little reaction that I’ve got used to seeing people do when they realize I’m not Canadian. I give her the usual polite, slightly wane smile that forgoes the inevitable ‘are you English?’ question that usually follows this reaction (to which my response is generally ‘it was the teeth that gave it away wasn’t it?’ but that’s another matter).
She did not ask me if I was English. She looked rather pleased and quietly excited and asked if I could recite anything.
Naturally I was rather surprised by this. I think I blinked and looked rather unintelligent for a moment, but I looked around- there was barely anyone in the place, and nobody in the line behind me- and I sort of thought to hell with it and nodded.
So I recited 'You are old Father William' to a complete stranger in a coffee shop, all the while feeling uncommonly like Alice herself and wondering if all that cleaning I’d done this morning had just been another of those exhausting and frustrating dreams that you wake up from and find you have to do all the work again. In the mean time the girl’s work colleagues, supposedly similarly bored, came and stood and listened and I swear by this time my cheeks were the same colour as my hair.
I was considering the prospect of diving through the nearest window with some sincerity by the third verse, however, I am not a stranger to making an idiot of myself in public, and in for a penny in for a pound. I finished the whole poem and there was some giggling and muted (I supposed) mock applause from my small audience. She finally handed over my order and I paid, and then I asked why she had wanted me to recite.
It turned out that her grandmother had passed away not so very long ago, and she was English too. She used to recite poetry and prose by heart that she’d been taught in school, and this girl, this stranger behind the counter, had listened to that voice and loved those stories, but as much as she had tried to do the same she said she had never ‘had the right accent’. When she told me that I said that it doesn’t matter what accent you use, the words are the same, but she just sort of shook her head and said ‘no, they’re not.’
So I gave her a rather awkward sandwich-laden hug across the counter and said something embarrassed and supportive and she didn’t cry but I suspect she nearly did. I waved to her friends as I was leaving and I was suddenly aware that they hadn’t been joking when they’d clapped.
Anyway, I’m not quite sure what to make of all that, and I felt a bit dizzy walking home, but it’s a very nice sandwich.
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- spookykay said: You just gave a complete stranger a wonderful morning is what you did. Good on you.
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- yamyams said: It’s always some sort of magical adventure with you XD Goodness me
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