You know what’s kinda fun, in a weird way? Going out dancing when you’re the only couple in the place who knows how.
I live in a small town an hour outside Portland. It’s in what they call “Wine Country,” which means up until twenty years ago it was all turkey farmers and hicks. Then the “wine people” moved in, and now along with the hicks, we got a lot of displaced Californians. Both types do an awful lot of drinking, the only difference being that half the population gets wasted on PBR, and the other half on Pinot. But none, I mean none, of these people know how to dance.
So a couple times in the last few months, one of our fancy wine bars in town has inexplicably started hiring small dance bands. I mean proper danceable Django cover bands. Why, I have no idea. It’s kind of surreal. After all, I’ve spent the last ten years of my life driving miles and miles each week to seek out places to dance. All of a sudden, there’s this place two blocks from my house – well, it’s just weird.
Both times it’s happened, my DH and I have shown up and there’s this great jazz happening, nice clear dance floor, and a bunch of people sitting around drinking and watching the band. I mean, just watching them, you know, like it’s a lecture or something. All serious.
So of course the first thing we do is we barge out there and start dancing. I mean, we got the whole floor to ourselves, and we’re not gonna let that band go to waste. Years ago, of course, when I was a kid I never would have done such a thing, but dancing changes you. And I guess maybe getting older changes you too. Because nowadays I’ll dance anywhere, I don’t care who’s looking. (I even danced in Staples one time when a good song came on, and another customer started dancing with me. Surprised both of us!)
Anyway, so naturally, at this bar, as soon as we start dancing, people start watching us. And we’re doing Balboa, so of course everyone is staring down at our feet, which I always find hilarious. They’re all just staring at the floor. But for a while it’s kind of cool; it’s like we’re part of the show.
But what’s really awesome is that after a couple of songs (and admittedly, after a couple of drinks), the other folks in the room start standing up to try it. And you can see that they’re not just dancing any old way, like they would if it was just from the buzz or the way they did at their senior prom. They’re actually trying to do what we’re doing. They’ve observed that we’re in a certain kind of close embrace, and they try that. They see we’re doing this sort of quick stepping business, and they try to make that happen. It’s really pretty adorable.
I mean, they’re awful, of course. They’re all dancing really big and sort of humorous, covering up the fact that they feel kinda foolish out there. But all the same, they’re having a good time. And it’s great because the only reason they have the courage to try it is that we stood up and did it first. They didn’t have to be the first ones. At least, they would have needed to drink a lot more before they would have dared to be the first ones.
Anyway, so now these people are like sheep without a shepherd. I just gotta figure out how to get some more teaching gigs in town so the folks will know how to dance without killing each other.
But it’s definitely a start!