Lately I’ve caught myself spending too much time with the windows of my car rolled up and my stereo off or at a modest volume. Jamming out in the car was a piece of myself that I recaptured last summer. I’d gotten used to keeping the windows up to filter the air and keep the temperature at a set level. I sang along with the radio at a reasonable volume. Sounds like a simple, normal adult thing, right? But it isn’t my normal and it should never have become that way.
Sure, if you have your windows up, your hair doesn’t blow into your mouth when you sing. But if you have your windows up, your hair isn’t blowing, the fresh air isn’t touching your skin, and you can’t do swoopy hand-dancing out the window. And what fun is that?
Last week I needed something more than a few minutes of rocking out in my car. I needed Hello Newman. For those who aren’t from Maine — or perhaps those locals who don’t share my musical tastes — let me enlighten you. Hello Newman is not just a sitcom catchphrase, it’s also a fantastic 90’s alternative cover band. I “discovered” them last summer when I was hungry for an escape and wanted to go dancing. An old friend introduced me to a new friend who introduced me to the band. I went out dancing 1-3 times a week and they were the band I sought out the most. Listening to them was like blasting CYY in High School. I went out not to meet guys or even to drink (though I usually bought one as a thank you to the bar for hosting free music). I just wanted to dance out the energy churning inside me and recapture another part of me that had drifted away during my marriage.
Last Thursday, I needed an outlet. My leg has kept me from my usual athletic outlets of running and Jiu Jitsu. My split custody of the dogs and lack of focus has limited my time spent on dog training. I was damned near a year into living as a nomad and we hadn’t found a place yet despite months of searching. I needed to burn off some frustration.
And I needed to burn it off on my own. Even though dancing is a strong part of my relationship with Dave, it is something different to go out dancing with him. It’s different going out to dance with anyone, really. When you go out with other people, you check in with them to see if they want another drink, let them know when you’ve got to hit the bathroom, take breaks together, etc. My dance buddy and I don’t so much go out together as we know if we’ll see each other at the show. She arrives after I do, dances the whole time they play, and goes home when they are done. We’re more parallel than together and, on nights that I go dancing solo, that’s as much as I want.
What I want is to sway and bounce and sweat my ass off. In college I danced so hard that I could wring out my shirt at the end of the night. That’s how it is when I dance now. Being that sweaty may not be a very appealing thought for you, but A: that’s just how my body operates B: being appealing isn’t the point. And oddly enough, while I’ve expected disgust or disdain from the 20-something “cute” girls that are out at these bars, I’ve gotten more admiration than I would have ever anticipated. I’ve had girls come up to me to tell me they wish they could be like me, enjoying myself and not worrying about what other people think. Rather than being repulsed by the sweat, these girls were impressed that I didn’t care about getting sweaty. No such admirers on Thursday but I was asked if I was “with the band” – I assume it was because I danced right out front and knew every song by heart.
On Friday, we finally found a place to rent. A cute little house in SoPo with a fenced in yard for my dogs and a garage for his motorcycle. It wasn’t perfect but it felt good to walk through it and see possibilities instead of problems. Even seeing bonus features that weren’t really on my list. We have to wait until September 1st to move in, but the search is over and that feels wonderful.
On Saturday, we went to Higgins Beach (my first time there) to visit with Dave’s friends and enjoy some time in the sun. He brought his boogie board along for a little fun in the surf. After a short time splashing around in the waves, he handed me the board. I haven’t been on any manner of wave-riding equipment since my visit to Santa Cruz 21 years ago (yes, my vacations are old enough to drink now) and I was eager to play. I let many waves roll by me, some I tried to catch and missed, a couple crashed over me and tried to take my bikini bottoms with them. But a handful I rode. A fast and wonderful ride that had me giggling, almost maniacal in my joy as I careened towards shore. Gremmie in full effect.
Dave was nearby – body surfing, scoping out waves with me and his buddy – but I spent most of the time engrossed in the experience, the sensation of moving with the ocean. This sort of wave riding was something he’d done his whole life but it was new to me.
One of the things I appreciate about us – sometimes we boogie together, sometimes we boogie separately. But there is always boogie in our life together.
The groove is in the heart, afterall.