Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Salsa Binge

                                                       Death comes to the salsa world.

Sunday night, January 12, Becky Bishop, 65, died when she drove her SUV under the bed of semi-trailer on Burnet Road.  She had just left the Go Dance studio after a fine evening of dancing. 

Becky was one of my favorite cha cha partners.  She was always smiling and laughing, even after teaching the beginner’s class at DNC on Thursday night.  Her horrifying death snapped into focus for me the reality that we do not know how much time we have left in our lives.  I also realized that I want to be like Becky, and dance in the last hour of my life.

I had planned on going to thirty clubs in thirty days for my birthday month of Aquarius, from January 20 to February 18.  Becky’s death prompted me to move my start date up to January 15. 

I asked myself “Why wait?”   

So, during the last thirty days, I have gone to 33 clubs.  They were mostly salsa or bachata events, although when there were none to be had, I went to see and hear bands of friends of mine who were playing around town.

One day, just to make sure, I threw the red flag, and asked several salseras for a booth review. My question to them: If I'm in a club at say 11:00 pm, and I'm in the same club at 1:00 am, does that constitute two clubs in two days, or just one. 

They all said "No, that's one club in one day" and charged me my last time out.

It has been interesting to witness the reactions of people when I tell them what I’m doing.  Some people, very supportive, encouraged me to keep on keeping on. 

 “That’s great.  You are not just sad about Becky’s death; you are actually doing something positive about it”.  

 One person heartily approved: “Everyone needs to do that.”   

Others were non-committal, but they rolled their eyes as if to say I was obviously crazy.  Still others showed their concern by looking at me sideways and asking about my mental health and general well-being.  

 Them I asked: “How do you stop a binge?”   

One replied: “By definition, you don’t.  If you can stop, it’s not a binge.”   

Another person said: “The last time I binged, I landed in the hospital.  I haven’t had a drink since.”    

Experience has taught me one cannot both drink alcohol and salsa effectively, so I have not been drinking at the dance clubs.   

One friend said:  “Oh, good.  Phil and I don’t drink and party during the month of January every year, so I’m sitting at home drinking tea and watching TV, and you’re going to 30 clubs in 30 days.  Totally not fair.”  

Personally, I feel a binge resembles a forest fire.  You can’t stop it, you just have to let it burn out.

Because of the dance lessons I have been taking over the last month, combined with practically non-stop social dancing, my dance skills have improved, or at least so I’m told. I have expanded my horizons by visiting several venues I haven’t frequented before, and met many new, amazing dance aficionados.  Propelled by a friend’s untimely death,  I have found new friends through dance.  Becky would be proud.