Leather bottom shoes, Khaki colored Dockers and a black short sleeve shirt. Yep, it’s dance night. For the first time in nearly four years, it is time to dance. It’s been four years since my feet have hit the hard wood floor. Salsa. Of all things it’s Salsa. Not exactly my best dance. So many rhythms, so many styles and steps, and my first opportunity is salsa. The only dance hall within walking distance does Salsa. The weather is nice enough now but in a couple of hours I’ll need a coat for the walk home. Who me? Stubborn? You bet. Tonight I am caring nothing, No backpack no sleeping bag tonight I do not carry my house with me on my shoulders. Tonight I return to my modest apartment. It’s been a long time since I have been able to sleep inside be pleantly warm then. So why am I in such a hurry to go out? Well… tonight I will be dancing and not sitting. I will mix, I will ask, I will dance. Tonight I will live my life instead of just tring to endure it.
Walking in the doors my eyes are emblazed with all the reflected light exploding from everywhere. Even the speakers and they are painted black. Strobes, neon’s, and tremors. The floors tremor and the walls shake. Hard wood floors pushed back in reaction to the bombardment of sound waves against the solid surface. Beat after melodiously spicy beat travel in waves through the floor and eventually to my joints. It was 9pm, the doors have just opened and I am the first to arrive. My left leg is tremmoring uncontrollably. My senses are on overload. I had intended to just drink water as is my custom when out to dance but the bucking and giving way of my knees in response to the pounding tremors of sound exploding out of the speakers is a sign that that some sort of sedative is in order.
The bar back looks up, he seems annoyed that I have arrived on time. Faking a smile he greats me “This bar isn’t open” I raised my eye brow “They haven’t brought the cash drawer yet but they’re open by the DJ booth.” I nodded not that I would be heard over the rattling of bottles and glasses on the shelves. Everything is moving. This is common place for a salsa bar. The salsa crowd typically shows late. My enthusiasm has bought me early. Am I annoyed? Yes… It irks me that people wait so late to start the fun. I have been waiting for over four years. It seems a waste to cut short the night before it begins.
I am, however, determined to drink it in every vibration, every movement, every knocking knee, “Lets not have one of those nights” I tell myself. “Those nights” are where despite my desire to dance, mountains of emotional insecurity keep me from simply asking someone to dance. My insecurities could hold me captive, I could watch and pout in jealousy. I refuse to live in jealousy and self doubt tonight. “Coors Light” I announced to the bartender. I was returned the look of ‘domestic drinking Geek..great…’ “Medicinal purposes” I said.
“3.50” he returns.
In no way am I going to pay 6.00 for a bitter tasting import just to calm my nerves. I not here to impress the bartenders, I’m here to dance. Like all dancers, I do want to impress other dancers not just with technical skill but also with some originality. “Oh, I’ve never done that move before can we do it again?” It’s always a nice compliment.
“I don’t know… I just made it up” Even if I can’t replicate something that I make up originality always scores points with the other dancers. Dancers love to dance but sometimes they get bored with the same steps and patterns so originality always increases a guys clout among the hot shots which will lead to more dances, and that is why I am here in the first place. The sooner I get started dancing the better my confidence will be and the more I’ll ask people to dance which will lead to more dances which is why I am here in the first place. It’s been so long.
I’m the guy who wants to be on the floor every song. I am more than willing to soak my shirt in sweat while I immersed myself in the rhythmically scattered movement of the crowd. In times past I would have brought multiple shirts. Saving my dance partners later in the evening from the slimy result of the exercise I enjoyed earlier in the evening. I imagine it is not too fun locking up in dance frame with a slimy, slippery over exuberant eel.
But not tonight, I only have one shirt that’s appropriate for an evening out dancing. Of all the different crowds that different styles of dance attract, salsa dancers dress up more stylishly than any of them but for tonight I should be ok. I have to be for I came here to dance. Now all I have to do is wait until some others show up. Let’s and try not to look too out of place shall we. It will be good if my knee stops shaking. Yeah that would be good.