Monday, July 12, 2010

observations from the dance floor

So, last week I went dancing with some magnificent friends at this funny place that might be the illegitimate offspring of a rec center for retired hunters and a dive bar (skee ball, pool, taxidermy... loads and loads of taxidermy, arcade games, beer... loads and loads of beer, and a little kitchen making Southern food). The DJ was rubbish, but the dancing was a glory. I don't go dancing very often, but when I do, I mean it. One hundred percent, balls-to-the-walls, let's be ridiculous, three hours (but, oh my god, didn't that feel like 30 minutes?), sweat and jump and kick and shake, mean it. It's just so much fun. I feel like a kid running around outside and hollering just for the hell of it. Maybe I'm an airplane, maybe I'm a monster, but who cares?

And then I see people who are trying to be cool, or trying to be sexy, or sort of dancing, but not really, just kind of swaying so that they can still go hah, well aren't I silly? and I want to beg them to throw their dignity on the floor and just get on with it. Have some fun, it's good for you. Be silly, look me in the eye, don't worry about making a good impression, just move and listen and don't think.

Tuesday was the brilliant Chris's birthday, so I went along to birthday drinks. There was another birthday gathering there, a bunch of young people at the table next to ours. There was also this man, dancing. I don't know his name, but he comes into the bookstore sometimes and he has a disability. He is very large and middle-aged, but he acts like a child. He's gleeful, he stands too close, and he can talk for ages without filtering out repetitions or inappropriate things. He is deprived of the charm of a child though because of his size and his clumsiness and his obvious age.

He was dancing and singing and the people at the table next to ours were laughing and urging him on. They were videoing him on their phones and he kept saying, oh, you like my dancing, I'm so glad, and they kept saying nasty things to each other and then turning to him and saying, of course we like your dancing. Keep going. Ha ha ha! Look at him go, isn't that funny, isn't that the silliest piece of shit you've ever seen?

It broke my heart.

How are you supposed to feel in this situation? He's happy. They're amused. Neither party would appreciate my pity or anger. Why does it matter that they're laughing about different things? It's not like mean-spirited humor doesn't tickle me. I snark incessantly. This video puts me in stitches:

And still... It really upset me. Here was this guy dancing, going all out, saying here I am and this is me, and they were ridiculing him, yes, but that happens all the time... The thing is, they were pretending not to, so there he goes pinning more of his heart to his sleeve, and they just think it's the funniest thing, the stupidest thing, the most hilarious thing they've ever seen.

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