No Parking on the Dance Floor

OK, perhaps some parking is allowed. I can be reasonable.

And yeah, this post was inspired by recent events that transpired on a literal dance floor. But as usual when I have a grievance, I don't just need to bitch about it: I also gotta analyze and generalize and get all metaphorical! Plus I try to find some kind of  "life lesson" and share it.

Annoying and pedantic? Of course! But it's how my brain likes to process stuff. Some people meditate or take Prozac or go pummel a punching bag; I over-think and blog.

I am sometimes amazed there are any Cranky Fitness readers left.

Wait, are there any Cranky Fitness readers left?

(Always good to keep checkin'! It sure would be lonely on planet Cranky if y'all got fed up and wandered away).

So anyway, who tried to harsh Crabby's mellow over the weekend and what thoughts did this lead to?

Oh wait, first, let's set the stage.

Tea Dance at the Boatslip...

Is the most awesome summer recreational activity I've ever encountered. Regular readers have had to hear about this before; we are big Tea Dance fans.

Outside, hundreds gather poolside to schmooze, but to me the best part happens on the small crowded dance floor inside.

(And why is it called "Tea" Dance if there is no Earl Grey or cucumber sandwiches on offer? It's because of the early hour; the whole thing is over by 7pm--perfect for old farts like us).

DJ MaryAlice plays great stuff.  And most weekends, there is an amazing amount of positive energy on the dance floor: there is almost always a diverse and enthusiastic crowd of revelers.  Many are on vacation and having the time of their lives.

On weekends the Hat Sisters often show up in themed attire and make the rounds.  It's all very festive.

(And sorry, lovely hat sisters, I couldn't find a recent photo of my own so I stole this from your Facebook page).

You can be young, old, gay, straight, weird, klutzy, fat, musclebound... and most importantly, a totally sucky dancer and nobody cares.

The Lobster is a soulful, graceful, and adorable dancer. I am always quite pleased to be her  partner.

I however... have that awkward tomboyish inability to hip-wriggle gracefully, not that I don't try. But have you ever seen a straight guy or "sporty" androgynous gal with no booty-swinging confidence but a lot of energy try to shake their groove thang? It's, well,... it's... um... different.  Let's go with that.

Plus, I get so inspired by the music that I frequently leap up in the air, or twist down low; I spin around and shimmy and make spastic swinging motions with my arms.  Am I hilariously awful? Yes! Do I give a crap? Nope!

I do make it a rule though to try to stay in roughly the same place as I jump and gyrate, in order to avoid inadvertently punching people in the face or knocking them to the floor. (I will leave for another time the exasperation I feel when a few oblivious dancers ram into everyone around them over and over and take up ten times the dance floor acreage to which they are entitled).

But generally: happy crowd, much camaraderie and good cheer.

The Lobster took a quick 20 second video clip off her phone which captures the vibe quite well and even shows a glimpse of me in Full Make-an-Ass-of-Myself Mode; let's see if this blogger video thingy actually works:

Anyway, so Who Was Parkin' It And Why Did It Bug Me So Much?

The  Provincetown Film Festival was underway, so I'm guessing the group of trendy young pretty things who drifted onto the dance floor may have been attached to some film.  But normally Film Fest people are awesome so maybe they were just in town for a wedding or something.

The tunes were cranking and everyone else was grinning and jumping and singing along as in the video, and being all blissed out. Awesomeness!

But these folks went straight to the middle of the dance floor, circled up and proceeded to sip their cocktails. But they refused to dance or even sway. Was the music not to their liking? The crowd?

They looked totally bored and put-upon and gave the impression that they felt WAY too cool to be caught dancing to this music, with this motley bunch, in this venue. Even though it was tremendously apparent that, well, screw Disneyland, this was the happiest place on earth.

We were right next to them, and suddenly I felt a huge energy suck. The black hole of negativity was strangely hard to ignore.  I don't think I realized how much of the excitement I feel dancing is not due just to the music, but to the proximity of other happy enthusiastic humans.  It found myself feeling weirdly defensive of the good time I was having, as well as self-conscious and grumpy.

There were a million other spots they could slurp their drinks! Yet they chose the center of a crowded dance floor, and it was all I could do to keep from saying:  if you don't want to be here, then LEAVE already!

I didn't. To the Lobster's great relief I'm sure. Eventually, after quite a long time, they left. It is possible we may have clapped.

I've seen this happen a number of times before too, and in this venue it is generally perpetrated by the young and buff and fashionable. Those who are drawn to being in the middle of things and who enjoy being looked at. They peer around with amusement or disdain at those around them and won't participate, unmindful or uncaring about the deflating impact this has on those around them.

And Yet... I Have Been that Clueless Snot-Nosed Assh-le Myself.

After I finished being all judgey and indignant about these callow youths and their attitude and re-immersed myself in the good-vibe-awesomeness again, it occurred to me:  I have done the same kind of shit myself.  A lot.

I have formed a lot of critical opinions and judgements in my life.  I have found myself at occasions that seemed "beneath my standards" and did not want to be mistaken for someone who went there on purpose.  I've laughed at tourists. I've employed sarcasm and smirked and giggled. I've rolled my eyes at long-winded speakers at graduations, earnest bad poetry, off key singers, kids acting out in restaurants... you get the idea.

But somehow I thought if I didn't actually say anything, out loud and publicly, that I wasn't accountable for my attitude.  I didn't go to great lengths to hide my feelings carefully, to make an effort either join in and celebrate with others, or if that seemed too impossible, to slip away quietly and get my self-satisfied judgmental butt out the door.

I wonder how many happy "dancers" over the years may have felt the cool breeze of my condescension and wished I'd get over myself and join in the humanness of the moment?

I'm older now, and not quite as bad as when I was younger.  But I'm not sure I've entirely outgrown it. After all, my first instinct with the Cool Kids was to meet their dance-floor hogging disdain with pointed looks and furrowed eyebrows.  Yep, fight negativity with negativity, that's a winner of a strategy!

So I'd like to to be more mindful that words are not the only form of communication, and to try to be a bit more careful about the kinds of energy I put out into the world.

Cranketeers on the Dance Floor!

This all brings to mind the awesomeness of this particular blog readership.  It's like being on a happy dance floor jumping up and down when I pop down into the comments, everyone is so fun and supportive! This is not the case on many blogs and forums.

And is blogging sort of a strange way to spend a bunch of time in a world filled with all kinds of other more lucrative opportunities?

I don't care, I love it!

Have you guys ever felt deflated by negative energy around you?

Oh, and thanks Marie of the awesome Purple Cactus in J. P. for snapping photos and joining us on the dance floor!

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