Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Beer guys

 As I walked down the beer aisle at HEB, I passed two beer delivery guys talking.

One beer guy: I'm going on vacation next week, so I'm going to be out of cell phone coverage for a month.
Other beer guy: That sounds like heaven!
Me in my head: Yeah, buddy. I live in heaven!

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Things that make you go hmmmm...


At a salsa event last month in Austin, a salsera turned down the dance request of a long time Austin salsero.  The next day, the salsero’s anger boiled over into an attitude spill, which he shared in a long, convoluted FB rant about the current state of the Austin salsa scene.  The responses to his post were many and varied.  Here are my impressions.

 First, he characterized various Austin salsa groups as cliques.  (

 My response:  Well, yeah.  If you take any large assembly of people, and have them mingle, they will naturally sort themselves into groups of like-minded people.  

Examples: On 1 vs. On 2 vs. On 4 styles; New York vs. LA styles;  Caribbean  vs. continental Latin American styles; Anglo vs. Latin styles; Mexicans vs. everybody else.

I have a Latino friend who claims he can identify a stranger’s country of origin by how they dance cumbia. 

 Then, the poster claimed that some Austin salseros were elitist.  My response:  Well, yeah.  Here again, in any large group of people engaged in a common pursuit, there will be natural ranking of skill levels from low to medium to high.  Get used to it.  I try to dance with people who share my skill level, so as to not overwhelm beginners, or bore the experts.

 A third critique of his:  That some Austin salseros were showoffs.  My response:  You think?  When I read this comment, the flashback of a talented showoff showing off that night popped into my head.      I remember my reaction.  “Gee, I wish I could do that.”

 Finally, he postulated a possible source for what he characterized as obnoxious behavior:  Expatriate Californians.   Now this one hadn’t occurred to me.    His speculation in turn caused an actual expatriate Californian to boil over.  In a long and articulate rebuttal, she defended the absolute right of any salsera to turn down a request to dance from any one for any reason.  My guess:  Based on her response, I’d bet she’s the one who turned him down.  My response to her rant:  You bet.

 All of this commotion caused me to go hummmm:  What is salsa for?  Who is salsa for? 

 My response:  It’s custom-made for showoffs.  Look at me!  Look what I’ve learned!  Look what I can do!  Look what We can do!  Oh, yeah, watch this!  Look, look, look!

 The poster claimed he was going to boycott Austin salsa, but Saturday night he was at SalsaMania, cruising the floor, looking for someone who would dance with him, so he could show off.  As was I.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

How do you measure happiness?


I recently had my annual wellness physical.  As a part of the exam, my doctor read off a checklist of mental health questions.  He was looking for signs of distress; statements suggesting depression, desire for self-harm, or suicide.

 “How are you feeling?”

 Thinking about my dance encounters over the last several weeks, I said:

 “Doc, I’ve been have moments of intense happiness.”

 He couldn’t find a place on his clipboard for my statement.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Sweet 16


Dateline:  June 6, 2023.  Sweet 16.

 Today marks my 16th anniversary of my introduction to salsa.  A year and a half before, I lost Retta, my best friend and wife of 15 years, to complications of Hepatitis C.  After mourning her loss for a year, I put my grief away, and began to search for something to occupy my time. 

 Sometime later, I saw an ad in the paper for “Free salsa lessons at Ruta Maya.” 

 I thought, “Oh, good, I’ll go try that.” 

 So I went on Wednesday, June 6, 2007, which was also D Day. 

 Now, you must understand, I had never heard of salsa as a dance.  It was completely foreign to me.  I thought I was going to a cooking class.  I walked in the door with a bag of chips under my arm, not knowing whether we were going to make red salsa or green salsa.  What I saw and heard and felt, with the pounding rhythms, the beautiful girls spinning and twirling, the guys looking calm and confident, changed me forever. 

I said: “I want THAT!” 

And here I am.

Thursday, May 11, 2023


 You're too white, too black.  too this , too that...

Monday, April 17, 2023

The cat.

 A couple of months ago, as I sat in my usual front row seat at the One2One waiting for the timba band to start, a young lady in her early twenties walked past me diagonally on the way to the ladies room. As she passed, I thought to myself: “There goes a dancer.” She walked like a cat.

Later, we danced. From previous experience, I knew that U.T. dance majors go out on the town, hit random clubs, and dance whatever dance they find there. She was one of those. She could do anything I asked of her, flawlessly, the first time. Amazing.

As the song ended, I dropped my most difficult move on her, ending in a cuddle, which she followed perfectly, and then blew her out into a triple inside spin. She returned, hugged me with out-stretched arms, and then walked out, not looking back.

She walked like a cat.

Oh, man...

 She: You must'a been really handsome when you were younger.

me: (le sigh)