After hiking six miles with the senior group called DASH, which does not dash at all, but rather hikes slowly through the woods with plenty of stops for bathroom breaks, snack breaks, or count-up-and-regroup breaks, I was too pooped to go out dancing. But my friends were going, it was close (just one town up the freeway) and it was free. I changed my clothes, brushed out my hat hair, and got into the car.
After finding a parking spot in a nearby parking garage, I walked over to the closed-off block at Cypress Street and found El, the dancing king, holding down a table in the bright sun for the meet-up group. I opted for a shaded chair along the building and settled in. The band was warming up, and the crowd was thin.
An hour later, that all changed. The street was filled with young parents covered in tattoos with their babies wearing headphones, the meet-up people, some old farts, people on bikes, men pushing strollers, a woman with a walker, one old hippie and a clearly drunken guy on the cement dance floor.
I danced a few songs, but my body wasn’t into it. Plus I wasn’t drinking wine, so my mind wasn’t into it, either. Some of the songs got me on my feet, but most didn’t. The multi-cultural band of whites, blacks and an Asian bass player were spot on with some of the songs, and badly off-key on others. Their playlist was as varied as the Grammy Awards, as they jumped from the Rolling Stones to the current hits. The song that most bands end with was their opening number – Uptown Funk, which was wasted on a handful of dancers, not saved for the end and a streetful of patrons.
A pair of twin girls in overalls danced with their balloon animals, and they seemed to be with the band. A woman with a white hat and a broken arm boogied by herself at the edge of the dancing area. My group of meet-up folks danced in a circle on the uneven pavement.
I only wandered down the block once to find a port-a-potty, which had a beanbag toss for kiddies in front of it (Port-a-potty Bean Bag Toss!). A smiling blond mom with her blond two year old chit chatted with me as we shared the hand-washing station.
Tom guarded my chair while I was at the bathroom. Lots of chair stealing was happening while meet-up folks were up dancing. People can be so rude. Tom and I danced, only to find his chair brought from home with a lady’s hat and her drink on it when we returned to our seats.
“I’ve had people put their dogs on my chair before,” he said.
There were plenty of dogs to watch. The temperature was in the 90’s and too hot for pooches on pavement, if you ask me. Some of the purse-sized dogs were in their owners’ arms. One Toto dog had a big black bow on its head.
A woman in a t-shirt that read, “It’s called Pop, not Soda,” swayed to the music with her piece of pizza. She must’ve been from the Midwest but was too far away to ask.
The lead singer butchered Justin Timberlake’s current hit, Can’t Stop the Feeling, and I knew it was time to go home. I said good-bye to a few people and headed up Main Street with my hat and my water bottle. I got off the parking garage elevator too soon and had to walk up the stairs one more flight to find my dirty white Prius. When I got in, I noticed the wagon and lawn chair from three days before, another night of outdoor music fun.
When it rains it pours. I waited all winter for summer to dance outside to live music. Now that it’s here, I am mostly loving it night after night unless I hiked six miles on the same day. Tomorrow night is another band, another venue.
Hopefully the lead singer will be on key.