The Dancing Tribe

Different town. Different band. Same faces.

We are the tribe of dancers, mostly in our fifties, sixties, and seventies, following rock and roll music wherever it goes.  We might not know each other’s names, but we smile and wave. It’s been two years since some of us have seen each other.

Last summer all the venues were closed by order of the county health department. California took the lockdown seriously. Our county was always in the red zone, regarding the number of cases. Considering the fact that more than a million people live in my county, it’s no wonder.

Things started to slowly open up last fall and quickly shut down again. Winter was a bunch of Zooms and music livestreams.

Now we’re back in the open air. Last night it was a balmy 80 degrees after a warm autumn day. I didn’t bring a sweater – how bold of me!  After two hours of dancing, I didn’t need one. I was hot, even a bit sweaty.

Halfway through the evening, my water bottle was dry.  I put on my mask and wandered over to the outdoor bar of the restaurant on the plaza. There was a silver pitcher and stack of plastic cups. Free water!

But the pitcher was empty. A tall good-looking guy in a mask came up and took a cup.

“It’s empty,” I said.

“I’ll fix that, “he said. “Be right back.”

He grabbed the pitcher as I stood there wondering if the guy was free and looking for a dance partner.

Two minutes later, a waitress came up and set down a pitcher of water.

“Thank you,” I said.

Soon the good-looking guy was back as I filled my cup.

“You did it,” I said.

He took two plastic cups and filled them.

“That’s what a five-dollar tip will do,’” he said as he walked away, a cup in each hand.

“Thanks!’ I said as I watched my dance-partner hopes vanish.

But there were lots of willing partners. Some were sober, a few were drunk, and most were women. I did a few swing dances with El, who is always available, and Tom, who usually leaves in the middle of a song to go dance with someone else. He specializes in picking older women sitting in chairs looking bored. It’s his own personal service project for America.

Tom also gets up on benches or whatever and shows off his moves (sorry, Tom, maybe I’ll change your name). Let’s call you John. John is a bit of a show-off with his groovy dance moves, but at least he gets the people whose butts are glued to their chairs to smile.

My friend found a hiking guy she knows to dance with.  Suddenly it was the encore song and we were all swaying to Hey Jude.

Thanks to Steve, Rosie, David, Mark, Suzanne, El, Tom (I mean John), Melanie, Suanne, Margo, Lynn, Cindy, Greg, Ann, Grace, Craig, Bill, Philip, Paul and everyone else I danced with. You, too, Alexander, for the poetry.

It was probably the last outdoor concert of the season.

And it was a blast.

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