Dinner Companion

By | 16 August 2019

To begin our conversation, I turn toward Sue
and refer to the Oxford University dining practice
of first talking to the person on one side, then
after a given time, the one on the other side.

Sue responds with the most hackneyed question,
how did you meet your husband, which throws
me off a bit, but we move on to Simon Winchester’s
writing, especially Atlantic but also The Perfectionist
about precision instruments which I say I’m
reading now.

The science reference is an opening for her
to explain her training: undergrad science
then a Masters in what I pretend I recognize,
some study of aquatic mammalian life.

She knows I’ve done a doctorate so asks
me the title which I articulate a version of:
Age and Natural Order in Ultimate Attainment
in Second Language Acquisition.

That leads into a discussion of immigration
then back to her next area of study: Economics,
which is why she is at this dinner and qualified
to turn to her right to join the all-male mutual funds
conversation group that I have heard snatches of
while we’ve been talking.

This leaves me somewhat desolate as a wife,
rapidly spooning my almond ice cream
into my mouth until my husband, on my other side,
who is also here due to his economics knowledge,
includes me in his conversation with a nod
of his head in my direction.

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