I have always felt in love with the idea of swing dancing. Recently, my romantic notions have been brought down and put in their proper perspective. at the Wabasha street caves, my romantic notions were brought down and put into their proper perspective.
It all happened last Thursday evening. My room-mate and I were looking all cute and ready to dance it up at the Wabasha Street Caves in the Twin Cities. As soon as we arrived at the caves though, we sensed we were in trouble. It seemed that all the couples present had recently become engaged or something and were standing possessively glued next to each other. “No worries” we thought. “We’ll just start dancing with each other. Someone will surely see how much fun we’re having and want to cut in.” Unfortunately, it didn’t really work that way for a couple of reasons. First, the dance floor was super crowded, and secondly, as mentioned previously, it was a predominantly couples' evening with the only extras being female. So, I sat down in defeat and waited until my room-mate felt equally as dismal about the situation as I did so we could leave. It was at this moment that I noticed there was in fact one single guy in the room. He was an 80 some year old man with humped over shoulders, a striped navy dress shirt, and suspenders. He was digging through his pockets for a Ziploc bag of medicines. Finally, he found what he was looking for: a cough drop. He shakily started to unwrap it. I feel sorry when I feel elderly people struggling to do some simple tasks and was contemplating whether or not I should help him out, when he looked up and winked at me. I decided not to help him.
A few more minutes passed. Someone had approached me. I looked up to see this same elderly man smiling at me: “I see you tapping your foot there. You look like you’re ready to dance. Shall we?” he beckoned to the dance floor.
I hesitated a moment only because I was wondering whether it was a good idea (from a health standpoint) for him to be dancing when but a moment ago, I wasn’t sure if he needed help with his cough drop. But, I agreed and he held my hand and led me to the dance floor.
I’d like to say that he was this amazing dancer and we flitted across the dance floor like something you might imagine in the movies. But in fact, reality and gravity were too much a part of us. So we kind of just awkwardly shifted our weight around in a corner of the dance floor. He tried some new dance moves I wasn’t familiar with, but I did my best. The air around me smelt of musty clothes, old man, and cough drops. I’m sure that at some point, this man was an awesome dancer, winning over hearts right and left with his moves and charm. But with time, things slow down and get lost. Things like rhythm and hearing and balance.
Nonetheless, as the song ended, I felt happy that I had in fact danced with one guy for the evening. Feeling sorry for my friend who hadn't danced with anyone yet, I asked the gentleman if he would like to dance with her. His eyes got a little sensitive as he looked up at me and responded, “Well, . . . you’re alright.” Then he followed up with, “But if that’s what you'd like, . . .sure I will dance with your friend.” And just like that, in my sensitivity to my friend, I realized that I had in fact dealt a small blow to this man’s pride. I tried to repatch the situation quickly by saying, “No, I think my friend’s okay. I’m happy to dance with you.” The music began, and we started yet again to move our bodies awkwardly on the corner of the dance floor.