Kitty’s a dancer. She’s agile and flexible and recognises a cue.
I haven’t seen her take a single (dance) step yet, but soon I know this is true.
We’re talking about kids. Kitty says she wouldn’t want to be young in today’s world – the pressures!
Nobody ever expected her to achieve anything at all at school, and – she throws her head back and trills with laughter – she had a wonderful time proving them right by attaining absolutely – nothing!
Suddenly serious-faced, she looks me in the eye and explains: “When I applied to work here I put a great line (she draws a huge one through the air) through the page where qualifications should go. At the very bottom I wrote (pause for dramatic effect) ‘Tap: Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Bronze, Silver, Gold.’ And (another pause) I got the job!”
She twirls her swivel chair back to her computer. Leaving me thinking – wow. Bold thing to do when applying for a desk job.
It’s 7.30pm. I’m at the gym for a form-filling appointment with Kitty to get membership for my son (she applauds this move – access to a punch bag is essential for teenagers).
Kitty takes shortcuts through the bureaucratic stuff and fills me in on dance classes instead. Good. I’m feeling far less sorry for my tired and grumpy self than I was when I arrived.
Kitty still dances. Three times a week for the last 35 years. She won’t miss it for anyone. Not for her four children or even her 12 grandchildren. Sacred hours of fun. And – she points to her head – you have to think about what you’re doing, and forget about the world outside. “Unlike the boring old treadmill,” she adds as an aside.
Kitty encourages me to come to a dance class run by a mad redhead (otherwise known as Anti-Brexit from Tunbridge Wells). You name it, they dance it: Bollywood, Mexican, Greek. A global dance fest once a week.
Tomorrow (28th March), on the eve of what should have been Brexit, the teacher has decided that Europe will take centre stage. A Remainer’s response of This is Not (Yet) a Swan Song.
Kitty giggles and says she’s going to wear her Ginger Spice Union Jack dress. “Come – bring a mate!”
Then it’s all over, my audience with Kitty. A friendly goodbye, and she turns back to her desk with a quick step.
I still haven’t seen Kitty dance, but I’d like to. So, who wants to come to that class with me? We could go anywhere.