I woke up early and went downstairs in my dressing-gown to bake a cake, but when I got to the stage of adding eggs, I found there were no eggs in the house. So I had to get dressed and run round the corner to a shop I knew would be open at that early hour.
An Indian lady was on duty at the till. I like her because she’s always extremely polite, though she often looks tired. The man who was before me in the queue greeted her and said, ‘How are you this morning?’ The Indian lady missed a beat before replying, and then looked into his eyes and said, ‘Excellent!’ The questioner said, ‘I see that you had to think about that! You don’t seem to be sure.’ The Indian lady smiled and said, ‘Well, what should I say?’ ‘Tell the truth!’ answered the man cheerily. Another two silent beats passed. Then the Indian lady said, ‘Tell the truth. Yes.’ Her voice remained polite, and her smile did not falter.
As with the playing of music, though, expression is not the performer’s only weapon; so much can be conveyed by the timing.