I hope I will always be able to dance because dancing provides a doorway into a different time and space. I seem to move on from fear or sadness or stress, as I did recently.
Driving on a Los Angeles freeway, in rush hour in the dark, I tried to ignore the dreaded wobble, which could only mean a flat tire. I was rushing to the first of two finely calibrated appointments that evening. Inching towards the next exit, I saw it was to the largest park in the area. Sitting alone in the dark on the side of the road in a park waiting for help was not what I wanted to do so I kept driving until I reached the Autry Western Heritage Center. Fortunately it was still open and I parked in the no-waiting zone under a light and called roadside assistance first and then the people who were expecting me downtown to cancel.
When I told the museum security guard, who had driven up in a golf cart, about my mishap he circled by for the next half an hour to make sure I was safe. The tow-truck driver briskly changed the flat tire for a flimsy looking spare and I wearily prepared to drive home for the few miles allowed a temporary wheel. First, I called my colleague to explain that I could not attend the anniversary celebration that we had been preparing for all day. Amanda very quickly informed me that I had to be there and that someone was already on his way (in rush hour!) to pick me up and take me to the event. Rafael, the security guard, said I could leave my car in his parking lot for a couple of hours and I was driven back to the event.
On my arrival I was startled to meet 4 young men dressed as The Beatles coming out of my office. They had been booked to perform and I recollected that The Beatles haircut had been part of British art students’ uniform when John Lennon was an art student. The young musicians laughed when I told them how I used to cut the male art students’ hair in that very style to the annoyance of our professors who thought we should all be in class.
When the early Beatles songs rang out there was an immediate reaction from the audience, who were mostly sixty-years and older. Some bounced in their chairs and sang along. Others got up and danced and I, forgetting the evening’s problems, jumped up to join them.
Photos courtesy Tyrone Polk
We danced and waved our arms, singing “She loves you, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” at the tops of our voices. I was a teenager again and that energy surged through me as I danced the old steps, laughing and singing – no thoughts of dark parks, rush-hour flat tires, or where I would go for a replacement next morning.
More people joined us, laughing and dancing, reliving the days when we went on like this for hours. We were so joyful, so carefree, giving ourselves up to the music, to the memories, and for a few hours, to youthful exuberance .
On the way home “If there’s anything that you want…If there’s anything I can do…” sang through my head and I thought of the kind guard, Rafael, who kept watch over me, of Amanda who insisted that I come to the event, and generous Tyrone driving through LA rush hour to get me to the celebration. And the dancing ….”Just call on me and I’ll send it along……” when I forgot my worries and stress — not only of that day — but it seemed for a short while, of my whole adult life.
I want dancing on my Roadmap of Aging!