Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2003
Dear Diary:

I got tipsy enough at my friend Sue's birthday party Saturday night to agree to watch a dance recital by developmentally-challenged adults, but not so tipsy that I signed up for tap lessons.

Yep, I could have woken up Sunday wearing shiny, clicky shoes. This, people, is why you drink responsibly.

Sue's birthdays are always a thing of wonder because she knows so many interesting folk. (The spousal unit and I being the exception that proves the rule, of course). At some point in the birthday evening musical instruments always bust out and the rock 'n' roll happens.

Saturday not only was there the rock 'n' roll but there was also tap dancing because there were real, live circus performers at the party. Circus performers. I mean, really, how insanely cool is that?

Anyhow, the couple is taking a break from touring and are staying in Vermont until the spring and then will head back on the road. In the meantime, he's offering tap lessons. Several of my friends, their judgement in no way impaired by imbibing beverages of an alcoholic nature (of course) have signed up.

There is not enough red wine in this or any other universe that could convince me that Me Signing Up For Tap Lessons Is A Good Idea, although deep, deep in my clumsy soul I was sorely tempted. See, back when I was growing up in the 1950's All The Cool Kids Tap Danced.

It kept the dinosaurs transfixed.

And, although it happened back in 1959, I STILL remember the jealousy that flooded my eight-year-old heart at the sight of a girl called Mary Beth wearing mass quantities of tulle, her blindingly shiny black patent leather tap shoes merrily clicking away during our school's Christmas pageant.

I got to be a tree, which meant I stood in the background. This pretty much encapsulates my basic co-ordination levels and personal charisma.

All this came flooding back to me big time Monday when I went to see the dance recital put on by the developmentally-challenged adults. There were about 25 of them, ranging from Down's Syndrome to what looked to be high level autism, and their ages spanned late teens to late 40's.

My friend Sue organizes community wellness programs for a small Vermont hospital and this dance program was one of many creative things she's dreamed up. She wanted to get a bunch of non-family members to this recital so that the participants could have a bona fide audience.

You have not lived until you've seen people of varying abilities give themselves over utterly to a very enthusiastic rendition of the Village People's YMCA, complete with somewhat garbled hand gestures. That much joy is contagious. The Duck Dance, a staple of Quebec weddings, was also performed. Electric Slide was done in all it's discolicious wonder.

And then there was the duet.

The teacher wrapped a length of leopard print fabric around her waist, in that small gesture going from a leotard clad fitness cheerleader to this wonderfully sensuous creature. Her partner was a very sweet, somewhat befuddled man in his late 30's wearing very thick glasses, a plaid shirt, a fanny pack and droopy jeans.

As she led him to the middle of the floor Donna Summer's Last Dance came on and they began to do this wonderful dance together. It's not that it was perfect, because it wasn't.

But it was amazing to see this incredibly graceful woman coax this man into a Fred Astaire - Ginger Rogers kind of place, to watch his pleasure in the music, those moments when he connected with the rhythm.

But it was also incredibly poignant, the contrast between the words of the song, all the sensual possibilities in those words, and the lives of the people in this class.

I had to slip into Sue's office for a minute because out of the blue I found myself quietly crying over a stupid disco song. How stupid is that? Yeah. My thoughts, exactly.

You know, I used to think that getting older would mean that my heart would be better protected, that things wouldn't get to me so much. Quite the opposite seems to be true and if things keep up at their current rate I'll soon be sobbing audibly at sappy holiday commercials.

Oh. Wait. I do that already.

Oh man, I am utterly doomed.


Mileage on the Marnometer: 520.64 miles (854 kilometers)
met goal Nov. 7
Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Half way smoochTen percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.
Goal for 2003: 500 miles - 804.5 kilometers

Going Nowhere Collaboration

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