My period is a week late and when she's late she kicks me in the abdomen like elephants stampeding. It sucks. It came on the dance floor while I was dancing to Yerba Buena's remix of La Candela (featuring Orishas). THE SONG IS ROCKS MY WORLD. My father had "La Candela" and I remember it at house parties growing up...GREAT classic salsa song.
Anyway, while dancing I got that "hmmm" feeling and after the song I checked it out. Yep, the bleeding had begun....great.
Anyway, time to go a little back in the day.
I bet you didn’t know I was an America fan.
Yesterday I drove to Arnold on the invitation of a river friend and with the support of Christine.
I had a day-long training at Mills College. My head was filled with Teaching-For-Understanding Model learning and application. I was hungry because the conference vittles were not sufficient enough to keep the glycemic index from going haywire and I was feeling very lonely.
I wanted to run away. So I called my friends knowing that in Arnold 4 couples + one other 3rd wheel awaited me. But it was a road trip. I needed to get away.
Under the gorgeous veil of sky with new stars popping in by the second, filling the sky with pin pricks of light, illuminating the shadows of the round hills as I drive into Gold Country and along Highway 4 and on to Arnold. The radio featured plenty of rock en espanol, classic rock, America, Christian stations and country stations. The miles were lonely.
I was sort of dreading the couples...
My friends here in the Bay are now officially mostly paired, married, or bred. ALL AMAZINGLY GOOD PEOPLE with really functional relationships. However, we singletons are dwindling and that critical mass of singletons dwindling means that hang out time has diminished, a lot.
I do have options. I could actually socialize more.
Like I did tonight.
After running this morning next to snow banks in a tank top under a gorgeous blue sky and in 70 degree weather (let’s be fair..20 min. jog, 5 min. walk, repeat) at 4000 feet, driving home, and then decompressing with Christine I almost went back home, but I felt a pull to Luka’s. It’s been months since I have been dancing.
I am NOT waking up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow to run. I have been soloing my training lately, so why NOT dance? I miss music…I am going dancing.
And I did.
Erick was Djing and was kind enough to dance with me. He didn’t recognize me at first. He thought I was one of the black lesbians who came by a few weeks ago. I assured him no. I’m not too paranoid that I look like a black lesbian, but it does underline the fact that most folks associate hetero chickdom with some amount of crown hair (unless cancer is involved).
Salsa, samba, merengue, reggaeton. I danced. I am out of practice, but I danced. My barefoot meter is black enough. I think I supinate, too.
Jeans, velvet purple skirt-turned-bandeau shirt, brass cuff…I was somehow in uniform.
I ordered from the bar my brown rice tea and an orange cardamom crème brulee, because that looked amazing.
Luka’s did NOT disappoint, as per usual.
The crème brulee was serious. Crispy sugar layer perfectly carmelized so I could tap my spoon through it to reveal the soft underneath. I broke through with my spoon and brought it to my mouth. My nose detected the orange 2, 3 inches away. This aroma gave way to the sweet spiciness of the cardamom.
Not a combination I usually encounter, but ridiculously tasty.
I used this as a refresher between song sets. One loving spoonful at a time.
As I danced, I thought of the last times I had been dancing with friends. A few weeks back I met Solomon and his friends at Rocapulco for an evening of Salsa. Before then I went dancing with my mami for her 60th birthday. Before then I think I took myself out dancing sometime in November. Before that? Perhaps monthly to Luka’s, solo. I think Antonio came with me to Yoshi’s in December. And I think Stern Grove of last year was when a cohort of us were dancing in the same space.
When I shared my disgruntlement about this with Mike on the phone earlier he said maybe it’s time to find new friends.
I need to recommit myself to my solo dates. There was a time when I would take myself out dancing 2, 3 times a week where I could find it for cheap because I wanted to go dancing, regardless of people’s schedules. I never told anyone because I figured people were busy anyway and people are usually into doing something other than what I am into. It's just how it's worked.
Sometimes I would find dance kin and other times I did not. Once I found a smooch partner and that was fun. It even led to a date, which was delightfully surprising. I was treated to mom’s recipe of a curried fish and rice dish. Lots of punk, some Indian music. That was in...May? I think I got a parking ticket that night.
Dancing is one of the only things I am selfish with.
Between songs, in addition to the orange cardamom crème brulee I reflected upon what I would like the rest of 2007 to be like by drawing on a napkin. I drew the SF Marathon, me on a motorcycle, me with a neat room, travel to visit family, a passport, icons of a heart afire, body images, spiritual images…and I ran out of inspiration.
D. sat down next to me, was drawing from his cider and began chatting me up. D. wore a tie-dyed black and orange t-shirt, jeans, low top Chuck Taylors, and was really excited when Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” was remixed reggaeton style. He said the song came out when he was in second grade and I giggled. I told him it came out when I was a sophomore year in high school. He told me I looked much younger than my age. Turns out his math was a little off, he was probably in Middle School when it came out, but we commiserated on making the perfect tape off the radio, waiting for your favourite song, cutting out the commercials…crafting it.
Ah, the mix tape conversation. Loaded conversation. Keep it light, Eriqua. This perfectly nice stranger doesn’t need to know your baggage..and so I proceed to talk about the mix tape philosophy…how they are made and we exchange what goes into them and the embarrassment of the unrequited mix tape.
This is a good conversation.
He also proceeds to tell me he’s been going to City College for 10 years and is currently a computer science major.
A dilletante? I ask. No, he responds. No return quip. Hrm. The music is turning to reggae and I am looking for my shoes. Time for the feet to be put away. Time to go home.
I clear my plates and tea to the bar. I wait for the barkeep to tell her how awesome the crème brulee was. I’m at the end of the bar.
D. finds me to tell me he enjoyed speaking with me and I firmly shook hands with him. “Me too.” And I proceeded to tell him how cool Luka’s is. Everyone can hang out here. It’s a good place.
30-something D. Longish hair D. Some light coloured eye D.
I wasn’t looking for D. or anyone else tonight.
I was looking for America to sing, knowing that I am a sucker for their guitar-strumming, sentimental, and gentle lyrics.