Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You know this boogie is for real

I visit a hospital for physically and mentally disabled people once a month. It's a pretty bleak place with tan walls and a vaguely antiseptic smell. There are about twenty patients who live there. They are really well looked after but they don't get a lot of outside visitors. 

We have a lot of fun together.  The thing they seem to enjoy more than anything is music, the more upbeat, the better. Sometimes we sing songs or listen to CD's and you can see in their eyes they are instantly transported to fantastical places in their imagination. Most of them are confined to wheelchairs but they manage some pretty enthusiastic clapping and hand waving which can be pretty hilarious. 

I was racking my brains all of last week about what I was going to do for my visit today when suddenly it struck me. Music. Dance. 

I am in no way a good dancer but I can pull together some feet/hand coordination and maybe a touch of jazz hands. I felt generally mortified about doing a dance willy nilly in front of so many people, especially hospital staff but I then thought fuck it, I'm sure it will be enjoyed, no matter how lame I look. There is a great Japanese proverb that says 'we're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.' 

I put on the CD, did a few side steps and 360 twirls and my audience went crazy. There were hands in the air, yelling, out of beat clapping and a chorus of whooping. 

Before I knew it I had shrugged away all my inhibitions and fears of looking foolish, instead I danced liked a crazy woman; for fun, for my audience, and for me. 

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