I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Two couples came over last weekend for a socially distanced, outside-in-the-cold birthday gathering for one of our friends. When he arrived, he had the “Celebration” song by Kool & The Gang playing on his cell phone. “Let’s dance!” he said.

My husband and our other friends stood up to shake their booties. I got up too, then I just stared at the ground, frozen. I couldn’t remember if I start off on my left foot or my right or what to do with my arms. It seems my Covid-era feet have got no rhythm.

My next thought was to wonder what other creative muscles have atrophied in this time of coronavirus. I still sing now and then, mostly in the shower, but the other day a few friends burst into song on a Zoom call, and I noticed I was way off key. I haven’t written anything since this pandemic started other than this blog. I did take an art class, but my own mother asked why the mandala I drew looked like a squashed cantaloupe.

I can still recite my favorite Shakespeare sonnet (I just tried and it’s still there). And just yesterday I sent a creative idea to a friend to help with her holiday sales, so I guess my creative juices are still flowing a little.

I think what really scared me about that dance moment was wondering if I’d forgotten how to have fun. Or worse yet, if I’d ceased to be fun. 2020 has been a heavy year. I’m quite sure I haven’t laughed as much as I usually do. I’m pretty sure I’ve worried more than I ever have. I’ve accepted boredom as a constant underlying state. Have I become a drag?

Maybe, but I don’t think it’s a permanent condition. I can remember what it felt like to clap along to a song at our favorite music venue, or to savor an unexpected flavor at a local restaurant, or to step out of an airport and feel the atmosphere of a whole new place.

When I was in my 20s, I didn’t own a bike. When I finally got another one, it had been more than ten years since I’d ridden. Everyone said it would come back to me, but when I put my feet on the pedals, I doubted that. I got off to a wobbly start but then it did come back to me. That promise had been true.

So that’s what I’m holding onto, the promise that one day, when the pandemic is over, we’ll go back to hugging, and dancing, and singing into the same microphone, and it will not be something I take for granted. It will be a thrill.

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