The spirit of dance is not in me. In fact, I think it fears me. I am completely lacking in grace or coordination. Sometimes, going through a door, I miss. Last week I was trying to get my hair into a ponytail while walking down the hall, and managed to crack my elbow on the doorbell box. I’m so accustomed to these mishaps that I barely notice them; frequently I have scrapes and bruises with no memory of how they came to be there.
I remember taking ballet lessons when I was a kid. I was the remedial student. My only clear memory remaining is of a class exercise wherein we were all supposed to link arms and trip daintily from one side of the room to the other. I was about as coordinated then as I am now; I was a staggering wildebeest attempting to leap with lightly-bounding gazelles. I kept up as long as I could, and when at last I fell I brought the whole leggy troupe down in a slapstick domino chain that would have made the Stooges proud.
Glancing up from the floor I saw the instructor drop her face into her hands and shake her head. It was then that I understood that I was not destined to be a dancer.
What the hell, I wanted to be a superhero too. Some goals are simply beyond our capabilities—but we can still pretend when we’re alone in the house.
To that end I’ve started taking classes in belly dance. I may still be the remedial student, but at least in this one I won’t bring the rest of the group down with me. I can just twitch and flail harmlessly enough in the class, and then come home and pretend I am Karimah, Mistress to Sultan Imad and favorite of the harem. Hey, you gotta find your own ways to keep entertained while you’re doing the laundry.
Regarding that bruised elbow I whanged on the doorbell box—later that same day I made some comment to my mate about how I couldn’t parallel park, “even in my old Bobcat, and I could drive that thing like an extension of my own body.”
He was silent a moment. “I was going to say something about driving that car like an extension of your own body, but then I thought about how you maneuver your actual body, and I really couldn’t say anything.”