modern conversation

I paused in the doorway of the 737 while the aisle ahead was clearing, people jamming their bags into overhead bins. A flight attendant asked if I was having a good day, if this was my first flight, if I was heading home.

“First and only flight of the day,” I told him. “To a conference,” I answered.

Sometimes you get that premonition that answering the question adequately won’t be adequate. This was one of those times. Or, maybe he just saw that someone in 11F was still wrestling with her baggage.

“What kind of conference?” he asked with stereotypical pleasantness.

I tried to be succinct and friendly at the same time. Actually, this was something that I don’t tire of saying, but I have to say it quickly or else I start to giggle. “It’s a dance education conference.”

He lit up, but the real enthusiasm came from his colleague in the galley right behind. She did something between a gasp and a cheer. If only she knew she was talking to a physics teacher who can’t touch his toes. But as it was, she was practically jumping up and down, even while wedged between the coffee pot and the packages of peanuts.

“Do you do modern dance?” she asked out of the blue.

I paused for one-third of a second, but no more.


Because saying anything else would have been too much to explain, and saying anything less would have been rude. So, I proclaimed to the staff of Delta Airlines, as well as anyone else in earshot, that I am a Modern Dancer.


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