When I was a young girl, a fabulous woman called Pam who lived opposite us would come to do my mom’s hair once a week. My mom would sit under the stand hairdryer, and Pam would talk and talk.
This arrangement started when I was about eight and continued until I left home aged 22. I’d sit at the dining-room table reading a magazine, stealing the biscuits my mom had put out for Pam, all the while observing how, so often, neither woman really listened to the other.
My mother would wait for gaps in the conversation so she could say, “Exactly,” then launch into her own, often unrelated, anecdote. I saw all the information missed like dropped balls: wasted opportunities for further exploration.