Dancing, Diversity, and a Mole

When you live in a lily-white suburban town like I do, it’s good to get out of it and see how diverse our country is becoming. Duh. It’s California. 

After a summer of dancing in other lily-white towns (Clayton, Alamo, Moraga) it ‘s nice to be with other cultures, races, skin tones, whatever you want to call it. Yesterday at Vino Godfather’s winery on Mare Island in Vallejo (Bay Area) we had it all – old, young, black, white, brown, pretty, ugly, fat skinny, happy, happy and more happy.

How can you not get up and dance when Papa Joe sits, strums and sings everything from disco songs, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, to rap songs? The rendition of Poison was exceptionally good harmony with the three female leads, besides Joe.

It was a hot day, but Vino has installed a permanent shade structure over its plastic dance floor, which isn’t bad, grass underneath, easy on the legs, unlike the city parks with concrete or lumpy grass as the only dance floor options.

We grabbed a round table for ten and then invited people to join us as they searched for seating – OBD, a fun woman named Elke, her friend and her half sis Susan and a guy with her.  Across from us were two women I didn’t get to talk to, since the music was loud.

I heard Elke’s life story as my friend Grace heard OBD’s.  I would’ve rather heard his, but Elke was closer.

We all danced and only took breaks when the band did, which was often, since it was so hot.  Lots of birthday parties were happening, and people were buying big greasy lunches from the food truck (just jealous because I can’t eat that stuff).  Elke and her friends had grapes, cheese, and wine, reminding me of my days touring Europe way back when.

As I ate my sensible salad and drank my Snapple/Tejava cocktail, I was glad we’d chosen Vino over the Walnut Festival in Walnut Creek. They had lots of bands with half-hour set-up breaks in-between, but it was a hassle to get there, park, then find tables with chairs. Plus, the bathrooms were porta potties while Vino has a Victorian officer’s house with indoor plumbing (old navy base).  The setting is just so nice with big trees and lots of shade.

When Papa Joe played The Wobble, Grace and I knew how to do it, compliments of our Zumba instructor, Milan. About 20 of us did it while everyone else watched.

Toward the end of the three hours of music, I danced next to a woman my age or older in a loose cotton sleeveless top. A big mole on her back near her left shoulder caught my eye. It was misshapen, dark brown and lumpy.  It looked to me like melanoma.

I watched the woman and her friend sit down. They were at our table! When the band took another break, I went over to them and said, “I’m going to stick my neck out. Here goes. I noticed your mole on the dance floor. It looks bad to me.”

“Oh, the one shaped like a heart?” the woman asked.

“It’s asymmetrical,” I said. “That’s one of the signs to watch for.”

“Oh, I’ve been meaning to get it checked.”

“You need to do it,” I said. “It’s also very dark, like mine was.”

Then I pointed to my scar on my leg.

“Melanoma,” I said, “two years ago.”

“Thank you,” the woman with the heart mole said.

“Glad you’re okay,” her friend said.

“No more tans,” I said.

“Me, neither,” the friend said.

Three white women, one with blue eyes, the other green, mine hazel — we are the perfect candidates for melanoma, although anyone can get it.

Melanoma is the skin cancer that kills.

Here are the signs:

  1. A = asymmetrical
  2. B = Borders uneven
  3. C = Color dark or multi-colored
  4. D = Diameter more than the tip of a pencil eraser
  5. E = Evolving – mole is changing, unlike other moles (if you have hundreds, as I do).
  6. F = I forget F, but I know itchy is also bad.

On the way home, Grace said, “You might’ve saved her life by doing that.”

“I’ll never know,” I said.

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