It was an unexpected weekend. I’ve decided that’s the best way to describe it. And I don’t mean that I didn’t expect a weekend to happen – clearly we all knew that it was coming. But more that things kept popping up and happening unexpectedly. For example, on Friday I got an unexpected invitation to come have lunch at a friend’s house on Saturday. It was short notice, but I enjoy both this particular friend, and his sister who was visiting him for the weekend. So I accepted. He had invited a whole group of us, so I supposed that it would be a fun sort of last minute group thing. Only when I pulled up to the house, there were no other cars in the driveway. So I got to have an unexpectedly cozy lunch with my friend (don’t have a nickname for him quite yet), his sister, and her timid Alaskan Husky. It was very nice, but, you know, unexpected.
That night I had made plans to go down to Cincinnati for the Smorgasbord dance. I used to go to the Smorgasbord of Swing every year – it and PittStop were my two big swing dancing events that I never missed. Except I’ve missed both of them the past couple of years. I didn’t even really try to go to PittStop this year (though I’m going to have to visit JohnJohn and Holly some other time), and I was all set to let Smorgasbord go by as well. Then last Monday, I was talking things over with Red, who was similarly ambivalent. We couldn’t make up our minds, so I appealed to Mr. Zoot. He mentioned that he was going to be singing with the band that was playing at the dance, and like that my mind was made up to go. Later I told my friend Papi about the dance, since he’s been talking about coming to swing dancing for a while. To my surprise, not only did he instantly commit to going, but he said that we were going together. So Saturday night, not only was I going to the dance I’ve skipped for the last couple of years, but I was bringing along my own lead, something I almost never do. Very unexpected.
Lately, most of my dancing experiences haven’t been all that great. They’ve been good enough, and definitely not actually bad. But just, you know, meh. If we were to talk about my relationship with dancing as if it were dating, then I would say that we were all but broken up, just kinda going through the motions from force of habit, and because we didn’t want to deal with the reaction of those around us if we just ended things. Sorta like the we’re-doing-this-for-the-kids thing. So I didn’t really expect much from this dance. I figured there would be lots of new dancers who would be ok but not thrilling to dance with, and I’d have to spend some of the night teaching Papi how to dance and dealing with new-lead awkwardness. I’d maybe have a couple of nice dances with old friends, and I’d get to hear Mr. Zoot sing, but I’d get tired & bored quickly and go home early.
And that totally didn’t happen. There were very few new dancers there, the room was filled with lots of old friends whom I love to dance with and almost never get to see, and Papi turned out to be a lot of fun to dance with. I caught up with LM and Sensei, got to dance with Sugarbowl, had a lovely talk on the stairs with Zanzibar, and had so much fun. It was like old times, like the days back when swing dancing and I were madly in love, and both of us were sure this relationship would never end. Except I haven’t danced that much in a long time, so my endurance was crap, and towards the end of the night I was tripping over my own feet. (Thanks, Mr. Zoot, for catching me!) So that part wasn’t as great. But maybe, I dunno, maybe I’m not as ready to break up with swing dancing as I thought.
Then on Sunday, I got a text from Johnsy. I hadn’t seen her since she moved to Rochester in June. She had come back for Labor Day, but our schedules wouldn’t sync up, so I really wanted to see her when she was in town for Thanksgiving. But it had looked like we were going to have the same problems this time around too. When I was free, she was busy, and vice versa. So I had resigned myself to merely being content to know that she was in town. But the text on Sunday said that she was going to be free until 5pm, and did I have time to come over to where she was staying? By a miracle, I didn’t have any plans for Sunday that couldn’t be put off. So I went, and it was really great. It was so good just to see her and catch up. Another unexpected blessing.
Sometimes, I think, those are the best kind.