Monday, May 3, 2010


I'm late.

Instruction started at 8, but I get there just shy of 8:45. The instruction is wrapping up.

I ask one girl, but get turned down flatly. I ask another, but she is there with her boyfriend. I ask a third, whose lesbian lover comes to her rescue. It is harder this week. I'm here on my own without Dave to try to get me girls and I can see I'm out of my element.

I retreat to the corner and practice by myself. Step. Step. Rock step. Step. Step. Rock Step. Eventually a girl takes pity (or is just curious about this boy in the corner mumbling to himself "Step. Step. Rock Step."). I explain to her that it is just my second week. She's okay with that and teaches me three new moves. But just as soon as her blond head and bright smile has put me at ease, her soft 20 year-old body is gone.

Back to the corner I go to practice what I have been taught - looking even more foolish doing turns and twists by my self. A 75 year-old comes over and asks me to take her out on the floor. I again admit, it's only my second week. I think in my head of all of my accomplishments: Navigating the Kaiser bureaucracy, starting a wheelchair basketball program, not bouncing a check for 3 years, taking some amazing pictures of sunsets and pretty faces. Yet as the music starts, I'm reminded of one big area I'm lacking in. I keep to the same basic steps I've been practicing in the shower and in my room at home. I'm too unsure of myself to try the moves that the beautiful 20 year-old just taught me.

The night continues with a 60 year-old woman who tries to teach me the Chicago (which was lost on me). I learn from an 18 year-old and return to that beautiful 20 year-old a few times to get instructed more. Every time a partner is approached or approaches me - each time I must admit my lacking. I must report my inability to do what comes naturally to them. I step on toes, and apologize profusely. I look to girls over a decade younger than me to teach me to lead, to teach me to overcome my inabilities.

Eventually Dave and Jill show up and I have a clique of friends to feel safe in. Jill and I share several dances, watching me not be able to dances. It is not the Swing of my grandparent's generation, unless my grandparents were clutzs.

Too Soon the night is over. I have only learned a few moves and feel so far behind. I can see faces of different females: Linda, Krysta, Sylvia, Grace, Karen, Mary Anne, Michelle, Katie, Sarah and my deer friend Jill. Some of them have made an impression to the point that they will probably never leave my mind. The woman who worked with netal natal infants. The girl who hadn't been in a year yet still showed me how little I knew. The woman who is a history teacher and smiles as bright as the sun as she lets me lead her around the floor. All of them come to mind as I am reminded of the humbling evening - the night that reminds me - I still have a lot to learn and am thankful I'm humble enough to learn it from those several years younger than me.

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