I’ve always been a bad dancer. From taking Hustle lessons from a friend’s older sister in the late seventies, to not knowing how to dance to Freeing Nelson Mandela or being able to find the Groove in the Heart, I’ve always sucked. Even though I’m sort of a musician.
I went to a Cuban Disco last night. I’m familiar with being a bad dancer. I just never experienced being the worst dancer in a whole country before. I didn’t enjoy the experience.
I met a couple named Enrique and Sarah. Sarah is about forty-five and comes from Iraq. Enrique is fifty-nine and comes from Argentina. He’s about the best fifty-nine year old dancer I’ve ever seen. He should be on YouTube. In fact, last night, I think he was recorded and will be on YouTube today.
I’ve never heard anyone use the word beautiful more than he does. And every time it seems genuine and appropriate. More than any doctor, nurse, counselor, therapist, psychologist, Enrique has lifted my spirits higher than they’ve been lifted recently just because of his own spirit. He was here for seven days but brought eight straw hats. Because you never know. I won’t forget him.
Besides the sexiest half dozen women and the half dozen drunkest guys, I’m probably the most conspicuous person here. A thousand people and I’m the guy by myself with the book and the writing pad and the computer. A waitress asked me if I was a writer. I said, sort of. I asked her if she knew the word blog. She did. She said I was the first blogger she ever met. Communist country, eh!
Decades ago, when I was a waiter in a restaurant, some parents sent their child to me to ask me where the bathroom was. I happily escorted the child to the washroom. I don’t know if this four year old could read or maybe recognized the symbols on the door but when we got to the men’s washroom door, she said, “but I’m a little girl”. It broke my heart. Twenty-five years later, it still upsets me. I hope that little girl, who might be around thirty now, didn’t remember the experience.
Today, as I ordered a drink from a young waitress in the hotel bar, I had a similar experience. I don’t know how to speak Spanish. In fact, half the time I find myself speaking French because it’s how I’m wired to speak a second language.
To this young woman, I said, “Gracious Senora”. She looked at me sadly and said, “Senorita. I’m still too young to be a Senora.” It brought me back to that little four year old girl with the short hair cut twenty-five years ago. I felt terrible about it.
I hope she can forget about it in the same way I’ve always hoped that that little girl could forget about something stupid I said.
You never know what stays with people though.