Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Houston Jones

"That's my money on the counter," says the petite and warmly attractive woman to her friends, loud enough for me to hear. I've leaned over her money in my quest to get the barkeep's attention.

"Oh? Thanks! But I'll only take enough to buy myself one beer," I assure her. I flash her a smile. Before she can react properly, I let her off the hook. "It's ok... I'm just teasing."

"I know," she smiles back.

My friend Sandie has invited several people to McGrath's Irish Pub to see Houston Jones play. They serve up "High Octane Americana Music," which to my ear sounds like all the best Blues-y Rock guitar bands melded together, as though all those other bands are weak imitations of these guys. Easy music to dance to. I get my beer, thread my way over to where Sandie and her husband and all our friends are. We talk in sentence fragments over the music. I realize that this is an aspect of sustainability: being together, supporting the arts, having fun while living lightly, being real people together.

Suddenly the woman is leaning over my chair: "Listen, since I bought you a drink, you have to dance with me."

Whoops. I dance sort of to my own rythm. Even my wife doesn't like to dance with me. Teens mock me (then later, adopt some of my moves-- I guess looking stupid is cool, these days). "Uh, ok," is the best I can do, getting up and following.

I do my best to dance with her, pretending that I really do owe her a dance. Sometimes I see a smile flit across her face. It's a long song, and I find myself wishing I'd worn jeans that I'd actually washed rather than merely refreshed in the dryer on high heat for ten minutes.

The next song is a slow dance, and I excuse myself. Sandie's watching me. I signal that I know she's looking out for married women everywhere: "I figure if I dance a slow dance, it oughta be with my wife," and I get a small half-nod in return.

Travis soon is belting out another dance tune. I go back to my dance partner. "Now it's your turn to dance with me."

"Yes!" she says. I know at that moment that I've connected appropriately with a fellow human being. Soon the tiny dance area is filled people, some dancing with the band, even. The woman's girlfriends get up and dance, and we're all just one big group of dancers. I'm just being while dancing, without hang-ups and baggage... and I feel less isolated.

I've re-learned tonight that I know how and am willing to make good, human connections.

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