Today was the first time I went to Damian’s house and didn’t have the vague sense that I might be intruding on his time. Or worse; that he might be taking some kind of pity on me for being holed up in my sauna, skint with only the psychotic sound of cats mating as company. Basically I’ve come around to the fact that he might actually enjoy my company outside of a Spanish lesson and likes the music I make enough to collaborate on something.
In order to arrive at this point I have had to confront my sense of good manners, which convinces me, even though I am having a perfectly good and relaxing time, that since the work (music) has stopped I had better think about leaving. The week before, whilst experiencing this same feeling Damien rather impatiently interrupted my pre-packing mutterings to say that if he wanted me to leave he would have absolutely no problem telling me so. As it was he said he had no such intention but if I was to stay he would feel a lot more comfortable if I stopped fidgeting and also if I stopped trying to read his mind.
The straight forwardness of this comment, despite my many well reasoned arguments to the contrary, gave me a acute sense of my complete Englishness. It was a moment in which I think I recognised the true absurdity of English good manners. The point at which those cherished manners can become a complete obstacle to good communication and common feeling.
 Or maybe it’s just me and I use Englishness as an umbrella for a kind of quiet self-loathing.