We're so polite! she said, & then we both exaggerated it: After you! with sweeping bows.
Then came the pause where one decides whether to go on.
I lived in California for 8 years, she said. People smile big but it was "fuck you" behind your back.
I'm from the Midwest, I said: the origin of politeness.
New York is straightforward: we do it or we don't, but there's no honeyed tones & last-minute "my grandma died, can't follow through."
And that was that. We were pleased & then we were finished.