I know some of my friends don't appreciate the cut-for-text, but I also suspect that not all of my friends hang on each of my rambly textsplorches, so the cut helps you skim more efficiently, if that's your thing.
- You Don't Know How Lucky You Are - Back in college, I thought that my final semester was a pain. I was notified late in the semester that I never got lab credit for some research work I did, so I had to add a lab class in order to graduate. And then I was a few credits short. And my thesis advisor kept pushing me to re-run my experiments, and improve the model.
It was only a few months, and I graduated, and now I get to do the same kind of antisocial-head-down-in-work thing every year or so towards the end of a work project. And they say that school doesn't prepare you for real life.
I bring this up, because one of the insane things I did to combat the nuttiness of my artificial intelligence thesis project was to take a day and declare it "Beatles Day". I played the albums in chronological order. After a few, I began wondering if it was such a good idea - I mean, I dig the lads, they're Fab, of course. But you know - hour upon hour of one musical group, one might find a saturation point beyond which you don't really appreciate the next song, and you just want to get to the end. Or "The End", which chronologically, isn't.
Ok, I brought THAT up because I just went to a Beatle-themed dance. People were encouraged to wear 60s clothing, and the music was all Beatles. Some early stuff, but mostly the familiar hits. "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand", "Sweet Georgia Brown", these weren't songs that everybody knew, but the DJ occasionally suggested that we sing along, and people looked at me odd that I was able to sing the verses as well as the choruses.
- She Said She's Always Been a Dancer - I'm OK on the dance floor. I've taken a few classes here and there, and I get the occasional compliment, each of which is appreciated. Somewhere along my path, someone (was it the crazy office manager back at MaK?) planted the seed in my brain that women dig the guys that can dance, so here we are. My sister and my brother-in-law met on the ballroom dance team for their college, so dance worked for them. Me, I've got to the point where I can appreciate formal ballroom dance (yikes), but my own abilities lie in Swing and other casual forms. That said, every now and then, I'll see a lady being led gracefully in a Waltz, and I want to acquire that skill. One day. Rather, at some point, I'll find a waltz-specific class, and I'll practice one-two-three, and practice one-two-three, and in time, I'll be better. And more comfortable. One-two-three. Turn-two-three.
- I Ain't No Fool and I Don't Take What I Don't Want - I subscribe to an email list (what a quaint idea - email lists) that lists a number of social dance opportunities in the greater Seattle area. It comes out once a week. Come to think of it, I actually get 3 different pieces of email about dance opportunities each week. But, even with a couple orders of magnitude more slow-slow-quick-quick than I can make use of, I settle into my favorite venues. And other people do the same thing. Which means that I see a number of familiar faces over time. Also, I'm crazy, so I was seeing some faces that seemed familiar when they probably weren't. One woman I danced with several times tonight looked disturbingly like my girlfriend from college. Except happier. And there were a few people I didn't dance with that seemed like other ghosts. The spooky is starting early this season.
I did get to dance with one cute chick over and over again, and she's a better dancer than I am, but we have fun within my toolbox of steps. I was hoping to get a chance to chat with her more, but I hope and trust that our respective ruts will coincide again before too long. One insight I had not long ago was that, even though the dances I go to aren't as formal as competition ballroom, there's still an expectation that you're going to do something structured - swing, cha cha, whatever. A dance with a name. That somebody teaches a class on. So when a slower song (e.g. "Lady in Red") comes on, the socially preferred thing to do is Nightclub Two Step. If the best you can do is stand close together and keep time, you won't be kicked out, but it's not as good as something with turns and chasses and whatnot. Er, so the insight I had, which I haven't got to yet, is that as much as I've bought into the swing/waltz/10 step/cowboy cha cha/hustle indoctrination, it's the unstructured "slow dance" where one can actually have a conversation. If the guy is counting, or plotting the next turn sequence, or whatever, there's not a lot of mental room left over for coming up with stimulating discourse. And, if there were, you're going past eachother pretty fast. I don't know, maybe slow dancing isn't as dismissed as I thought - perhaps it's just that some of the women I've danced with preferred my underarm turn with opposition to my repartee.
- I Ain't Got No Matches But I Sure Got a Long Way to Go - I had a shoelace episode tonight, to the extent that I was pretty sure I'd be going home early, but I perservered and managed to triumph over my lace entanglement, and stay on through the end of the dance (thus ensuring extra dancing with the aforementioned cute women). I am mighty.
- Same Old Thing Happen Every Day - I'm not sure if it was that so many people grew tired of all-Beatles music at the dance so quickly, but by around 10pm, the dance floor had emptied out a fair amount. One of my favorite things is East Coast Swing (what? I learned it in Cambridge, that's what they taught), which isn't as comfortable on a tight dance floor. In fact, I've recently heard that West Coast Swing was invented specifically because a crowded dance floor is such a common phenomenon. I wonder what's responsible for me actually dancing through the end of the music tonight, as opposed to other dances when I might leave earlier. In part, having room to do the fun turns kept me interested. Also, cute chicks that were happy to dance with me must have been in the mix. Maybe also that this dance was closer to home, so I had less of a drive home. Or that it was in one of my favorite, comfortable, places. It was probably the cute chicks.
- What Goes On - I own a tie with "HELP!" jauntily lettered all over it. I'm somewhat sad that I didn't get the other ties in that series back when I had the opportunity. A jaunty Beatles tie is fine, but a selection of ties, that's superior. I mentioned above that 60s clothing was encouraged, and the Beatles have an arc of imagery that are accurate, if not signature. Sure, there were the Technicolor Marching Band outfits, but my fucsia jacket's at the cleaner today. So I decided to go for the dapper moptop Ed Sullivan look. But that was pretty much just a suit. And the HELP tie. Which wasn't exactly authentic. But it's a Beatles tie, so some things had to give.
When it came to volunteering to be judged on one's 60s costume, I kept my mouth shut - there were several other people who put great care into creating (dusting off?) hippie costumes, and they were very impressive. I'd rather not diminish their efforts by claiming my suit and jaunty tie deserves equal consideration.
- Does it Worry You to Be Alone? - I checked my friends list before embarking on this tangle of thought to see if anybody who might have known my college girlfriend might be reading this. And hey, maybe someone's lurking out there. But of the folks who show up when I click on "Edit Friends" (does anybody else feel uncomfortable with that image? Just literal-minded me?) I mostly see folks that I've known for ten-ish years, not folks I've known for fifteen-ish. Different stages of one's life, different friends, nothing unusual about that, I'm sure. But, looking at that roster, I realize there are folks I haven't heard from in quite a while. So. If you've made it this far, you're probably a friend - or you're really bored. In any case, if we haven't chatted recently (well, we can count sarcastic LJ comments as "chat"), please post a comment telling me something excellent in your life. I shall be delighted to hear it.