Due to that 4:00 meeting, which was in the Talley Student Center, which is most convenient to a slew of Wolfline buses but only one city bus, I took a Wolfline bus in this morning.
It wasn't jammed packed on the bus, but it was crowded enough that a couple of people had to stand. The guy sitting across from me peeled back a banana as he ate each bite—I always think of monkeys when I see people eating them like that. But I digress... He sat half-facing forward, and he had his legs open so wide that he took up half of the seat next to his as well as his own. No matter how crowded the bus grew, even as people had to stand, it either never entered his mind at all to sit up straight to make the seat next to him available, or as that country song says, "His give-a-damn was busted."
As it turned out, Noah, the requester of the 1:00-2:00 meeting, moved it to tomorrow, so I had a slight reprieve there. Of the two over-lapping meetings between two and three, I attended the 2:00-3:00 Web Developer Meetup in the library. I sat next to Jen and we pretty much behaved ourselves while we listened to Saroj's presentation on the recent changes to the section 508 guidelines for web accessibility.
My afternoon meeting with Jackie (our student leader) and Tierza (my co-staff advisor) about our alternative spring break trip, which is imminent now, was good. Jackie is so organized and so experienced as a student leader, and Tierza is such the consummate advisor pro that these meetings are always easy and über productive.
We scheduled our meals for the week, which included making a list of some group dinners we can cook "at home" and purchase at the grocery store on the cheap. The list included: grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with soups, hot dogs and hamburgers, spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, tacos, and "breakfast for dinner" one night.
We also reviewed, and contributed to, Jackie's reflection plan for the week.
I met Jen, Mike, and Sarah at TJ's, a dance bar out in North Raleigh, where we went to practice our shagging. I got there about 20 minutes before Jen arrived, and I eavesdropped on everyone coming in. Yenta.
The place was full of older people, and by that I mean older than me. I was really impressed with the staff there. They were friendly and very welcoming, in spite of the bartender trying his best to make Jen and me a couple.
"What's the lady drinking?" he asked me when I ordered my drink even though she was way over at the pool table racking for our game.
"I don't know what she drinks," I said, handing him the money for mine.
Later, we were both up at the bar at the same time, and he rang up our two drinks together, to which I turned to Jen and said (but, to him, really), "He's bound and determined to make a couple out of us."
Jen and I took a seat at the bar-type seating that was all around the dance floor—the place reminded me a lot of the now defunct Long Branch Saloon—and when Jen left for a few minutes to go greet Mike and Sarah whom she saw coming in the door, this platinum blond woman, with deeply-tanned skin, and a lot of make-up on took the seat next to me that Jen was sitting in.
She said, "So, you dance a lot?" and although she didn't say, "Hey baby..." I immediately thought of my very first prompt of my very first prompt-writing session of the four I attended:
|The facilitator said, "The first prompt is, 'Hey Baby.' Begin." This is what I wrote, and subsequently read aloud as the first volunteer to read his work.|
|"Hey baby." That's what she said to me, and then asked me to two-step. After one trip around the floor, the next, by now inevitable, line came from her, "So, you come here often?"|
"Not, too, really," I smiled back. I had trouble negotiating her while talking and dancing, because the truth is I'm not much of a lead when it comes to this dance.
She persisted, "I don't ever remember seeing you here before; I'm sure I'd remember you."
"Off and running," I thought, and I took a deep breath and said, "Actually, I'm just here to learn how to lead, as I usually two-step with men, and somebody has to lead," ending with the kindest smile I could genuinely produce.
Again, the inevitable, "Oh," followed by a silent remainder to some song about someone's mother getting run over by a train the day before she was to pick up her son at the end of his prison sentence.
We exchanged polite thank yous, and I watched her return to her group of friends, where as they are prone to do, she bent over to whisper the recent goings on with her pals.
Usually, I'm not too concerned about what they say to their group, but this group contained two men, who looked mean, and I briefly thought about my safety.
I stood, alone, along the rail to the dance floor waiting for the next line-dance, which I could do partnerless, and get lost in the endless appeal of a prescribed dance to an anal-retentive person.
Not only that, it would keep my mind engaged until those next, inevitable, words were spoken to me again. "Hey baby. You come here often?"
Over the next 10 minutes or so, I learned this:
- Her name is Joanne.
- She's just recently back to dancing after about a year's hiatus.
- Her hiatus involved having to get her parents moved into an assisted living place to which they didn't go willingly.
- She'd taken shag lessons at this nightclub back when she first took them.
- Her first husband died.
- She's recently divorced from her second husband. It sounded like there turned out to be more doors than windows, so to speak.
- He was so nice while she dated him for two years. He was a builder. She's a real estate agent. She thought it was a match made in heaven. After they got married, "things changed."
- She's back on the dating scene.
- She's on singles.com. Perhaps since she's into real estate and builders, she should be on shingles.com instead. Badumpbump. We're here all weeks, folks. Try the thermal-paned windows.
- She was going to meet someone there tonight who she's been talking to online, but he has a girlfriend.
She asked me a bunch of questions, including where I lived, and once they joined us, I explained to her that I was there with Jen, Mike, and Sarah. She did not get up and offer Jen her seat back, although I'm not sure she really knew Jen was sitting there when she took the seat. They were to her left, and she turned and faced them when I introduced them, but then turned right back to me. Body language.
She asked me to dance. I said, "Oh no, really, I don't know what I'm doing, and I'm working up the nerve to dance with my friend, Jen," I said indicating Jen with a nod.
"That's okay. I'll warm you up, then you can dance with her." Persistent little devil.
"Oh no, really," I laughed, "But thank you for asking."
She eventually moseyed away in search of that guy (and his girlfriend) she was going to meet.
We had a ton of fun dancing and experimenting a little. My favorite part was doing the stutter step a few times with Jen. We pretty much practiced all of the things we've learned so far: the basic step, the belly roll, the pivot, and the stutter step. We also added our own variation of the basic where we remained in the closed position, and gussied it up a couple of times with Jen doing a double twirl on the one-and-two step of the basic.
We also did some two-stepping, during which I enjoyed watching a few people from the sidelines observing us looking at our feet as if to say, "What the hell? That's not the shag step." Heresy.
They did a couple of line dances, including the Electric Slide, which of course I joined in on. Love that dance, and about the only time I get to do it is at straight peoples' weddings.
At one point, they said, "And now the Tush Push," and I rushed out there only to find that they did it with a slight variation, which actually really surprised me. I mean the Tush Push is a pretty standard line dance. In all of my time traveling and dancing, I've never been to a place where that dance was done differently.
Anyhoo, I hung in there, and watching the people around me, I caught on enough to get through the part that was a variation in such a way that I was back on track and in step when it returned to the steps I knew. Toward the very end, the lady to one side of me messed up while I was watching her to try and mimic the variation, and she laughingly apologized for messing me up, which I thought was sweet, as she had absolutely no obligation to keep me on track.
I met Alex and Bill at Flex for Trailer Park Prize Night, after a quick stop by home to change into shorts and a t-shirt. I'd actually worn khaki pants and a long-sleeved black t-shirt to shag in.
I hadn't seen Bill and Alex in a while, and it was good to catch up. I always get my laugh quota in with Alex, 'cause he's just fun like that.