Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On Reunions, Dancing, And Cornbread

I love my high school classmates.

Specifically, I love the occasional (and all too infrequent) get-togethers several of us enjoy for lunches and dinners. The camaraderie, the moral support, the remembrance of the good old days.

The social dynamics of the dance floor during our thirty-fifth reunion.


Anyone who knows me knows that I majored in psychology. That's convenient when recalling lectures from social psychology class I took during the Reagan era.

While the band began warming up with something not-too-disco, no fewer than twenty-nine thousand women made a beeline for the dance floor. That was pretty interesting in light of the fact that there were no husbands/significant others accompanying them. That piqued my curiosity; am I the only guy who's agonizingly self-conscious about dancing, which in my case probably resembles Herman Munster trying to walk off a foot cramp? Scanning the entire main ballroom, I only saw five or six guys. The rest, as I discovered momentarily, were hiding around the corner, having placed themselves, strategically, near the bartender and the food. Hey, two birds, one stone.

In all fairness, there were quite a few ladies back there as well. Turns out they were the reserve unit to replace the original Dance Platoon.

This was a pretty interesting phenomenon; as the evening progressed, the second troupe hit the floor with all the gusto of Ethel Merman at a state fair. This second group was even more interesting to observe than the first. I say that in the context of how they danced. Whereas the first group of classmates strolled out to the floor and displayed good fast-dance form, the second took the field, as it were, and did a circle dance which seems to have closed in on some guy who made the mistake of using the area for a shortcut.

I'm not making fun of anyone, nor would I want anyone to think that. People were simply having fun. Well, except for that guy who looked for all the world like he was going to panic if he couldn't escape and evade back to the food line, not that I blame him. (They taught us to practice empathy in psych classes. I taught myself "you're on your own, pal" as I made my way to the baked beans and cornbread.) I'm reasonably certain that he survived the ordeal. I speculate that he made his escape somewhere between some soft rock song and "Disco Duck". (Note: they didn't actually play that song, but had I ascribed a Barry Manilow tune here, we'd all have sought escape.)

The final main dance, not taking into account one couple who danced a slow dance alone, and who are obviously in love, plus two guys who joined perhaps eighteen ladies for three minutes, formed either a wavy line dance or half of the Electric Slide, depending upon my eyesight and the sobriety of perhaps one or more people on the floor. No one got trapped in that one, but when two sides of the dance tried, momentarily, to move in opposite directions it made me realize how light-hearted the whole thing was, and it reminded me not to take some things as seriously in my own life. (I'm the guy whose first Little League experience was to assume that because I'm left-handed that I should run to third base. I was called out about halfway across the pitcher's mound, by the way. Am I judging anyone? What, are you nuts?)

I considered taking dance lessons, but decided that my own self-consciousness would relegate me to the line serving beans and cornbread.

That line trapped me at the pasta salad.

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