Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Short fuse

Last night was my swing dance lesson. I cannot tell you how hard it was for me to get myself there. Well, physically, it was easy, since I drove. But mentally? Hard, hard, hard.

I kept smiling and that helped. Most of the time, I enjoyed the lesson. The couple who teaches intersperses a lot of shtick with the actual lesson and I laughed. So far, so good. What was not good was a run-in with one of my partners.

The class is taught in a big circle. The women (followers) stay in place and the men (leaders) rotate from partner to partner. (The women could rotate—who does the actual rotating is inconsequential.) In this part of the lesson, each leader was to dance for one minute with each follower and then rotate. One of the instructors calls out "rotate!" when it's time.

My partner for this minute was a tall fellow dressed in jeans and a button down shirt. He had a prominent forehead and a receding hairline . He looked a bit like the guy who plays the father on "That 70's Show" except he was a brunette.

We get to dancing. He stomps on my foot. Now, my foot has been stepped many times at dances but very rarely by my partner. I say, "Ow!" He says, "Are you ok?" I say, "Yes." But I'm grumpy.

We keep dancing. He tells me, "You need to be more squared up to me."

Ok. I square myself. For this particular move, we are side-by-side and he has his right arm across my back. The lead requires that he give me a push with his right hand. But instead of resting a flat hand just below my shoulder blade, he tightly grips my waist. This is a common mistake and it can hurt.

I say, "It would help if you released that death grip on me."

He harrumphs and leads me to the next move. He says, "You have to hold your hands more like this."

I say, "Enough!"

He says, "What?"

I say, "Stop telling me what to do."

He says, "I'm just trying to help!"

I say, "I didn't ask you to help. Enough." I stop dancing and stand with my arms crossed until it's time to rotate.

He was a complete jerk. First, he stepped on me. He never apologized. Why not? Because he thought I was doing something wrong. But no other guys have stepped on me and I've been doing that move "wrong" all along. He was seriously hurting me with his steely claw of a hand, but, again, I was the problem.

Please. I'm the follower. If you lead correctly, I will follow. I dance with a lot of clumsy, inexperienced, nervous guys during the lesson and not one of them has tried to tell me what to do. Sometimes, if a move goes wrong, I'll say, "my timing was off" or "my steps are too big" and the guy will say, "no, it was me" or "I'm doing the same thing" because, we're in it together. Plus, we're taking the lesson so we don't need to instruct each other. If one of my partners asks me what's going wrong, and I think I know, I'll tell him. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut. Even if you're hurting me! (I have a low tolerance for pain, but I can suffer for a minute or two.) If I haven't asked for help, then please don't offer it. This isn't life and death, it's dancing. No one but me and my feet and fatty tissue are going to get hurt.

After that, all my partners were easy and friendly and the usual mix of competent and clueless. Just like you would expect from a lesson.

When the lesson was over, I danced with a few people. I screwed up a few times and laughed and apologized. They laughed and shook it off. I tried to stay later but I just didn't want to be there. I wanted to be home in bed, which I was by 10:30pm. Sigh.

On another note, I was too lame to call my brother, but I did send email apologizing about forgetting his birthday. He was cool. Then he told me they're planning to be down here in January and did I have time to see them. Of course I said yes.

See, this is my problem with my brother. They've never made plans to come to visit me. And, yes, I've invited them (not for a specific occasion, but I've issued an open invitation more than once). Do they plan to come see me? No. Do they ever invite me to visit? No. I have to invite myself. They have other friends in Virginia, and they make plans to see them. They make plans to go to CA to see my sister-in-law's sister.

It's so frustrating to feel like I'm so low on his priority list. I guess I should talk to him about it but I can only imagine being made more unhappy by such a conversation. I've been stewing about this for the last who knows how many years—what's a few more weeks or months?

Man, I really need to perk up! I have not been in a movie-mood for weeks, but I've decided that X-mas weekend, will be an all movie weekend. AFI is playing a few classics and I have my eye on a few new releases. I'm going to a movie on Sat, Sun, Mon and Tues if it kills me! I might even go see a band on Sat night. Woo-hoo!

Those of you who know me, please get in touch. I have free passes for AFI. C'mon, you know you want to. I promise to be nice as long as you don't try to give me a dancing lesson.

Grateful for: the friendly dancers.

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